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Owego Community Sch. Dist. No. 434 v. Goodrich

SEPTEMBER 1, 1960.

OWEGO COMMUNITY CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 434, BERT RANSDELL, EDWIN HOLZHAUER, SR., EVELYN HOLZHAUER, JOHN L. PRISK, ROGER HARDING, MILDRED HARDING, ORDELLA ABRAHAM, AND ERNEST ABRAHAM, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

LUCILE GOODRICH, LIVINGSTON COUNTY, ILLINOIS, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Livingston county; the Hon. HUBERT H. EDWARDS, Judge (Deceased) and L.W. TUESBURG, Acting Circuit Judge, presiding. Judgment affirmed.

WRIGHT, J.

Rehearing denied February 15, 1961.

This case originated by the defendants, hereinafter referred to as the appellees, petitioning the Superintendent of Schools of Livingston County, Illinois, to call an election to vote for or against the establishment of a community unit school district by virtue of Section 8-9, Chapter 122, Ill. Rev. Stat., 1957. The Superintendent of Schools, after a hearing, ordered the election and the plaintiffs, hereinafter referred to as the appellants, appealed this order to the Circuit Court of Livingston County under the Administrative Review Act. The Circuit Court entered an order affirming the Superintendent's decision from which order this present appeal is taken.

It is the contention of the appellants that the proposed unit school district did not have a "population" of 1500 persons as required by the applicable section of the Illinois School Code on the date of the filing of petition, February 17, 1958, and that a population of 1500 or more is a jurisdictional prerequisite to the calling of an election to vote on the formation of a community unit school district. Appellants herein have stated that they confine this appeal to the sole issue of whether or not the unit school district had a population of 1500 on the day of the filing of the petition. If the population was less than 1500 then the Superintendent of Schools had no authority to call an election and the Circuit Court erred in affirming her order. If the population was 1500 or more, the Superintendent of Schools was authorized to call an election and the Circuit Court's order of affirmance is correct and proper.

It is the theory of the appellants that the rules laid down by the United States Census Bureau in its Enumerators Reference Manual, 1950 Census of the United States, are controlling and by applying the criterion therein promulgated, the proposed school district had less than 1500 population. The appellees urge that any person who had its permanent residence or domicile in the district is to be included in the population within the meaning of the School Code even though such person may be temporarily out of the district in military service, in employment, in college or for some other purpose.

A short time before the filing of the petition, a census was taken in the proposed community unit school district by an individual or individuals and this private census revealed that there were 1541 people in the district. The order of the Circuit Court recites that 1463 persons admittedly were inhabitants of the district, thus, there were 78 persons who are disputed as being inhabitants of the district. The trial court in its final order found that 36 of the 78 disputed persons were not part of the population. There is no cross appeal as to the determination that 36 of these individuals were not part of the population and, therefore, these persons will not be considered in this opinion. The trial court found that 39 of the disputed persons were part of the population and as to the other three persons the court stated in its order that it was unnecessary to make a determination since it had already found that the population of the district was 1502. The appellants have waived by their own admission their objections to six individuals reducing the disputed number to 30.

The appellants contend that 30 persons should not have been included in the private census for the purpose of determining population within the meaning of the School Code. We will now turn our attention to a consideration of these 30 persons.

Nine of the persons in question were in the military service of the United States, single and admittedly were physically stationed and living outside the school district, although their permanent address was that of their parents who resided in the district.

Three of the persons in question were Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Sancken and minor son. Mr. Sancken was in the military service of the United States but had been discharged two days prior to the filing of the petition and was enroute to his home in the district with his family on the date the petition was filed. Mr. and Mrs Sancken were registered to vote in the district.

The next group of persons objected to included nine individuals who were students attending college and nurses in training in hospitals located outside the district. These nine lived at the colleges and hospitals where they were attending school and taking nurses training, but their parents with whom they lived before going to college or to taking nurses training resided in the district. All except one were single and all were physically living at or near their respective schools and hospitals outside the district.

Three persons objected to are Nellie Shutz, Barbara Gerdes and Dillard Ross. Nellie Shutz, due to her inability to care for herself, was a patient in a nursing home outside the district; had sold her home in the district and had been for sometime living with various relatives and in various nursing homes, both in and out of the district. She was registered to vote in the district. Barbara Gerdes, a minor, about twelve years of age, was a patient in Lincoln Hospital, Lincoln, Illinois. She was single and had lived with her parents in the district prior to entering the hospital. Dillard Ross was an inmate in the Livingston County Home, a county supported home, and had been since November, 1957. He had a home within the district, had lived there prior to becoming a patient at the Lincoln County Home, and was registered to vote in the district.

The last group objected to were six persons who worked full time at places of employment outside the district. They lived and slept in towns of their employment during the work week, although each of them were single and had parents residing in the district and each of them returned to their parents home during weekends, holidays and vacations.

Appellants state that there is no approved method for taking a census of the population of a school district in Illinois but, contend that the criteria for determining population under the federal census methods should be controlling and adopted by this court. For the purpose of clarity it might be stated that no official census by the United States Census Bureau was ever taken in the proposed school district, but the argument is made that United States Census Bureau Rules and Regulations should apply when a private census is taken for the purpose of determining "population" within the meaning of the Illinois School Code. Appellants stand on the federal census rules and regulations as support for their position that the proposed district did not have 1500 or more population. Appellants had previously requested leave of this court to file as an appendix to their brief a copy of the Enumerators Reference Manual, 1950 Census of the United States, United ...


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