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Carbondale Community High School District 165 v. Herrin Community Unit School District 4

March 25, 1999

CARBONDALE COMMUNITY HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT #165, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
HERRIN COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #4 AND DAVID W. HINDMAN, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County. No. 98-SC-38 Honorable Thomas H. Jones, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Goldenhersh

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS

Herrin Community Unit School District #4 and David W. Hindman (Herrin) appeal from a judgment of the circuit court of Jackson County awarding reimbursement to Carbondale Community High School District #165 (Carbondale) for services rendered to a youth (D.E.) expelled from Herrin for a drug-related offense. D.E. received educational services from Carbondale rendered at a residential treatment program located within the borders of the Carbondale district. For the reasons stated below, we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.

I. FACTS

Carbondale and Herrin stipulated to the essential facts before the circuit court. D.E., a resident of the Herrin school district, was attending Herrin High School in the school year of 1996-97. He was expelled for knowingly possessing and using a controlled substance on school grounds. The term of the expulsion was from June 24, 1997, through the end of the 1997-98 school year--June 5, 1998. In August of 1997, D.E. was enrolled for treatment at the Gateway Youth Care Center (Gateway), a residential program located within the Carbondale district. Gateway is a private, for-profit treatment facility which deals with drug and alcohol dependencies. While in Gateway, Carbondale provided D.E. with educational services for a period of eight days and subsequently requested that Herrin reimburse it for tuition in the amount of $239.84. Herrin refused this request.

After the refusal, Carbondale filed a small claims complaint against Herrin in the circuit court of Jackson County. After the aforesaid stipulation of facts and argument on the law, the circuit court, in a bench trial, issued an order granting judgment for Carbondale and against Herrin, the relevant portions of which are as follows:

"1. With respect to the obligation to pay for the educational services provided to Herrin Community Unit School District resident [D.E.] at the Gateway Youth Care Treatment Center, the fourth paragraph of Section 10- 20.12a of the Illinois School Code [105 ILCS 5/10-20.12a (West 1996)] specifically addresses the pertinent facts.

2. Section 10-20.12a states that `educational services ... in a residential program designed to correct alcohol or drug dependencies shall be provided ... and financed as follows. The cost shall be paid by the district in which the student resides.'

3. The program at the Gateway Youth Care Treatment Center qualifies as a residential program within the meaning of Section 10-20.12a.

4. Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that Herrin Community Unit School District No. 4 pay Carbondale Community High School District No. 165 the amount of $239.84. This amount represents the cost of educational services provided to [D.E.] at the Gateway Youth Care Treatment Center." Herrin timely appealed.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Herrin argues, and Carbondale does not contest, that the standard of review is de novo.

III. ANALYSIS

This litigation provides a classic example of statutes that potentially conflict and the necessity for the courts to determine the legislative intent behind each and reconcile them. Herrin argues that since D.E. was properly expelled pursuant to section 2-3.13a of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/2-3.13a (West 1996)), it is not required to reimburse ...


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