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Board of Educ. v. County Bd. of School Trustees

JANUARY 12, 1976.

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF WEST WASHINGTON COUNTY COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

THE COUNTY BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF WASHINGTON COUNTY ET AL., DEFENDANTS. — (THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF OAKDALE CONSOLIDATED COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Washington County; the Hon. CARL BECKER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE EBERSPACHER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This action was brought in the circuit court of Washington County for administrative review of a decision by the County Board of School Trustees of Washington County (hereinafter called the Trustees). The Trustees granted a petition to detach certain territory from West Washington County Unit School District No. 10 (hereinafter called District 10), and to annex the territory to the Oakdale Consolidated Community School District No. 1 (Washington & Perry Counties) for elementary school purposes, and to Nashville Community High School District No. 99 (Washington and Jefferson Counties) for high school purposes. The trial court reversed the decision of the Trustees and denied the petition. This appeal has been taken from the decree filed March 20, 1975.

District 10 was organized in 1973. Litigation concerning organizational procedures was resolved in 1974, and corporate operation of the District for all school purposes was commenced by the Board of Education on July 1, 1974.

District 10 incorporated, in part, territory that had formerly comprised Okawville High School District No. 88 and several elementary school districts. A petition to detach certain territory included within District 10 was filed within twenty days after the District 10 organization election, and a hearing was held on the detachment petition on May 13, 1974. The evidence presented at the detachment hearing showed that if the detachment was permitted, a tract of land presently in District 10, 160 acres in size, would be separated from District 10, but not incorporated in the area to be detached. The 160 acres would have been noncontiguous with, and detached from, District 10.

The proposed plan would have been in violation of section 7-4 of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 122, par. 7-4), Requirements for granting petitions, which provides:

"No petition shall be granted under Sections 7-1 or 7-2 of this Act:

(c) Unless the territory within any district so created or any district whose boundaries are affected by the granting of a petition shall after the granting thereof be compact and contiguous except as provided in Section 7-6 of this Act. The fact that a district is divided by [portions of East River Road or Higgins Road] lying within the corporate limits of the city of Chicago shall not render it non-compact or non-contiguous."

The petition was denied for that reason. On June 28, 1974, within one month after the denial, petitioners filed a new petition incorporating the 160 acres into the proposed detached area.

Section 7-8 of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 122, par. 7-8) provides the following limitation on successive petitions:

"Limitation on Successive Petitions

No territory, nor any part thereof, which is involved in any proceeding to change the boundaries of a school district by detachment from or annexation to such school district of such territory, and which is not so detached nor annexed, shall be again involved in proceedings to change the boundaries of such school district for at least one year after final determination of such first proceedings." (Emphasis added.)

As noted, the trial court reversed the determination by the Trustees permitting detachment under the second petition on the basis of section 7-8.

• 1 There are several issues presented by the appellants, but it is only necessary for our determination to discuss the first issue, specifically, whether section 7-4(c) of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 122, par. 7-4(c)) is jurisdictional in nature.

No argument is advanced that the Trustees lacked jurisdiction over the type of case, i.e., subject matter, ...


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