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Fuller v. Bd. of Ed. Peoria

MAY 17, 1967.

ALBERT C. FULLER, ET AL., AND BOARD OF EDUCATION, COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 312, PEORIA COUNTY, ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,

v.

BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF PEORIA, SCHOOL DIST. 150, AND COUNTY BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF PEORIA COUNTY, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Peoria County; the Hon. CHARLES IBEN, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

CORYN, J.

Rehearing denied July 17, 1967.

Prior to November, 1964, Richwoods Community High School District 312 was comprised of territories within the Village of Peoria Heights and adjoining unincorporated territories, where it maintained its only educational facilities. By a referendum held in November, 1964, some part of the foregoing unincorporated area, including that surrounding the school buildings of District 312, where the greater majority of its high school students resided, was annexed to the City of Peoria where Special Charter School District 150 is situated. By statute, any annexation or disconnection of territory to or from a city where such a special charter school exists constitutes, after the expiration of sixty days, an annexation to its special charter school district, unless statutory proceedings to prevent such ipso facto annexation to or disconnection from the special district are commenced and thereafter concluded favorably to petitioners. Ill Rev Stats, c 122, § 7-2.1 (1965). In an effort to prevent such automatic annexation, the Board of Education of School District 312, and certain of its interested residents, some of whom are apparently petitioners here, commenced a proceeding under said § 7-2.1, but while the same was pending, an agreement was reached between Districts 312 and 150 with respect to the issue of school annexation, and the uses and disposition to be made of the facilities of District 312. This agreement called for an order to be entered in the proceeding under § 7-2.1 annexing the disputed school territory of District 312 to District 150, and for the annexation of the buildings of District 312 to District 150 as of May 1, 1966, with Districts 150 and 312 to use the District 312 buildings jointly for a certain period. District 150 agreed to pay District 312 its proportion of the operation costs of the disputed school, and it was agreed that the aforementioned school facilities would be deeded to District 150 as of May 1, 1966. This agreement was set to writing under date of May 26, 1965, whereupon pursuant to its terms, District 312 was required to deliver certified copies of its Resolutions, authorizing the foregoing action, including annexation of the site of the school buildings, and authorizing the deed, together with the deed, to First National Bank of Peoria for delivery as of May 1, 1966. Some of the signatories to that agreement on behalf of District 312 are plaintiffs here.

After the foregoing agreement was consummated, an order was entered in the pending proceeding under § 7-2.1, fixing the boundaries of Special Charter School District 150, pursuant to the terms of the agreement of May 26, 1965. Thereafter, on April 26, 1966, the petitioners, who are appellants here, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and for an injunction against District 150 and the County Board of School Trustees of Peoria County. It is asserted in this complaint that the aforedescribed written agreement of May 26, 1965, between the two school districts is void insofar only as it requires or authorizes the transfer of the school facilities of District 312 to District 150 because it is an ultra vires commitment by the former Board of Education of District 312 and violative of the restrictions imposed on their power by the Constitution of Illinois, which requires an efficient system of free schools, free and equal elections, justice and due process. The prayer of the complaint is that the agreement be declared void, and that an injunction issue restraining defendants from taking any action "looking toward the transfer of title to the property herein described" and "from otherwise interfering with or impeding the use of said premises by the plaintiff." An answer with affirmative defenses was filed to this complaint by District 150. An answer by the County Board of School Trustees states that it is legal titleholder of the disputed school site and requests direction. Plaintiffs filed a reply to the affirmative defenses, setting out new matters to which a verified reply was filed by District 150. This latter pleading set out that pursuant to the Resolution of District 312, the City of Peoria, by municipal ordinance, had annexed the disputed school building site to the city, thereby incorporating the same to District 150 under the provisions of Ill Rev Stats, c 122, § 7-2.1. Thereafter, a motion for summary judgment was filed by defendant District 150, and was allowed by the trial court on June 28, 1966, which order also directed the County Board of School Trustees to convey the disputed site for the use of District 150. Two days later, the County Board of School Trustees made, delivered and recorded their quitclaim deed of the premises to District 150, and plaintiffs, on the same day, filed notice of appeal.

The parties appear to agree that no disputable issue of fact is involved, for it is the prayer of defendants that the order be affirmed, and of plaintiffs that it be reversed, and that they have judgment here. Our inquiry is, accordingly, limited to the issue of whether the trial court correctly adjudged that the agreement of May 26, 1965, between the two school boards, is valid so as to effect or require a ...


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