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High School Dist. No. 302 v. Bd. of Sch Trustees

MARCH 9, 1971.

COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 302, OF THE COUNTIES OF KANKAKEE AND IROQUOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

COUNTY BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF IROQUOIS COUNTY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Iroquois County; the Hon. DAVID E. ORAM, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE ALLOY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The cause before us originated as an action for administrative review of an order of the County Board of School Trustees of Iroquois County detaching territory from the district of plaintiff, Community High School District No. 302, of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties. The order of the County Board of School Trustees of Iroquois County, in addition to detaching from the Community High School District No. 302 of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties referred to, and annexing the territory to the Donovan Community Unit School District No. 3 of Iroquois County, Illinois, also directed that the territory comprising the Papineau Grade School District be consolidated and annexed to the Donovan Community Unit School District of Iroquois County.

St. Anne School District No. 302 is a high school district which maintains grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. Both Kankakee and Iroquois Counties include portions of the District, but the major portion of the St. Anne District is in Kankakee County. The high school is also located in St. Anne, a town of 1,400 population which is located in Kankakee County. There are four underlying elementary school districts in the St. Anne School District. One of these is the Papineau Elementary District and it is the entire area of such District No. 266 which is in dispute in the cause before us. The Papineau District is entirely within Iroquois County and it is bordered by the Donovan Unit District on the west, and, also, by the St. Anne Elementary District No. 256 which is located in both Kankakee and Iroquois Counties. There are two other elementary school districts in the St. Anne High School District.

The Papineau Elementary School District last operated a school in 1966-67 in the Village of Papineau. Under Section 5-32 of the School Code (1969 Illinois Revised Statutes, ch. 122) it is provided that a school district failing to maintain a recognized public school for two consecutive years shall be automatically dissolved and the territory of such district shall be disposed of as provided in Section 7-11 of the School Code. Under Section 7-11 it is provided that if any school district shall become dissolved, as provided in Section 5-32 referred to, the county board of school trustees shall attach the territory of the dissolved district to one or more districts and if the territory is added to two or more districts, shall divide the property, etc. The rest of this Section provides that the county board of school trustees conduct a hearing on how to split up or divide the dissolved district for educational welfare of the children. It is provided that if 8th grade children in the dissolved district normally attend high school in the same high school district, the county board should annex the territory to an elementary district where the children attend that high school, unless it is impossible, and should also consider annexing it to a district that has an elementary school building nearest to the center of the dissolved area.

In the cause before us, all of the children from the Papineau Elementary District had been attending St. Anne High School as they were in the St. Anne District. The Papineau District is also bordered by St. Anne Elementary School District No. 256 and an elementary school building in such district is in the Village of St. Anne three miles from the Village of Papineau. It appears, therefore, that if Sections 5-32 and 7-11 referred to were invoked, the Papineau territory would go into St. Anne Elementary District 256 and would remain in the St. Anne High School District No. 302.

Before any proceeding was instituted under Sections 5-32 and 7-11 referred to, a petition was filed on May 22, 1968, in the office of the County Superintendent of Schools of Iroquois County, Illinois (as ex officio secretary of the County Board of School Trustees of Iroquois County), requesting that the Papineau territory (i.e. all of the elementary district territory) be detached from St. Anne High School District No. 302 of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties and annexed to Donovan Community Unit School District No. 3 in Iroquois County, Illinois. It is notable that Papineau District No. 266 was an elementary district and that the territory of the elementary district was also in the St. Anne High School District No. 302. The Donovan District was a unit district operating both grade and high schools.

The petition to detach and annex was filed under Section 7 of the School Code. The petition did not specify whether it was filed under Section 7-1 or Section 7-2 but merely recited that it was filed under Section 7. There are substantial distinctions between Sections 7-1 and 7-2. Section 7-1 deals with boundary changes when districts involved lie entirely within a single county. Under Section 7-1 boundaries of existing school districts all within a single county may be altered by the county board of school trustees of that county when two-thirds of the legal voters in the area so petition. The Papineau District No. 266 and the Donovan Unit School District are both located in Iroquois County, but the St. Anne High School District was located in both counties.

Detachment proceedings involving school districts are expressly governed by the applicable provisions of the School Code. In contemplating this problem, the petition filed May 22, 1968, was also apparently drawn under the provisions of Section 7-2 which provides for boundary changes when there are districts in two or more counties. Section 7-2 relating to change in boundaries by detachment, requires "concurrent action" of the county board of school trustees of:

"(a) the county in which the county superintendent of schools has supervision over the district from which the petition seeks to have territory detached or if territory is proposed to be detached from a district or districts lying in more than one county, then the county board of school trustees in which the county superintendent has supervision over the greatest portion of such territory and (b) the county board of school trustees of the county in which the county superintendent of schools has supervision over the district to which the territory is proposed to be annexed * * *."

That Section also provides that the original petition shall be filed with the county board of school trustees of the county in which the county superintendent has supervision of the district from which the petition seeks to have the territory detached. It is notable that the provision of this Section clearly establishes that the original petition should be filed with the county board of school trustees of the county in which the county superintendent has supervision of the district from which the petition seeks to have the territory detached. The sentence providing for the filing of the original petition contains additional language:

"* * * or if territory is being detached from more than one county, then the petition shall be filed with the county board of school trustees of the county in which the county superintendent has supervision over the greatest portion of such territory."

Under the School Code Section 3-14.2, the territory from which the petition sought detachment was territory to be detached from the St. Anne High School District which is under the supervision of the County Superintendent of Kankakee County. No territory, under the facts shown in the instant case, was being detached from more than one county.

The petition filed on May 22, 1968, to remove the Papineau area had a dual purpose. It sought not only to take the elementary district 266 and place it in the Donovan Unit District, but its other purpose was to disconnect the same Papineau area from St. Anne High School District 302 and also annex it to the Donovan Unit District. The petition was filed only with the County Board of School Trustees of Iroquois County. Nothing was filed with the County Board of School Trustees of Kankakee County nor was a transcript of the hearing in Iroquois County sent to the Kankakee County Board.

Section 7-6 of the School Code provides expressly that when more than one county board of school trustees must act, the one hearing the petition shall, after entering its order, send forth a certified copy of the transcript of the hearing to the other county board, which shall, within 30 days, conduct a hearing as provided in the Section on the transcript and either grant or deny the request in the petition. No transcript was in fact sent to the Kankakee Board so that the Kankakee County Trustees did not have any participation ...


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