schools now existing could be profitably abandoned and the children carried
to another school, which could easily be made a better school. We commend to
the board a careful consideration of this suggestion, believing as we do that
partial consolidation of school interests and transportation of pupils remote
from school will solve the difficult problem with which the board has been
contending for years. We venture this suggest/ion as one of the means of meet-
ing a difficult situation and at the same time of increasing the enrollment and
average attendance in the township.
But whatever course the board may take, the interests of the entire town-
ship must be considered and an adjustment made that will do practical justice
to all. It is with the confident belief that the board will make such adjustment
that the case is remanded for further consideration and action.
Reversed and Remanded.
JOHN F. RIGGS,
Superintendent of Puhlic Instruction.
Des Moines, Iowa, November 14, 1904.
A. Engbees et al. v. School Township of Richmond.
Appeal from, Mahaska, County.
Records. The secretary's record should show a copy of each notice, a complete
account of the transactions of all meetings of the board and of the electors,
arranged in chronological order, the date of each being given, the names of
the members present at each meeting of the board, and the names of those
voting for and against each pi'oposition acted upon by it.
Record â€” Defective. A defective record may render it impossible to try a case
on its merits.
Election â€” Notice of Proposition. No proposition may legally come before the
electors at a regular or special meeting unless ten days' notice has been given.
Notice â€” Form of Proposition. The proposition submitted to the electors must
not differ in any essential from the proposition as advertised in the notices.
Vote of Electors â€” Instruciions. When the electors vote a school house tax to
erect a schoolhouse on a particular site the board is without power to erect it
on a different site.
100 SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA
JuKiSDiCTiON OF SUPERINTENDENT. Neither the county superintendent nor the
superintendent of public instruction have jurisdiction over questions arising
under the voting of taxes.
The transcript in this case shows that on the sixth day of March, 1905, the
electors in Subdistrict No. 10 of Richland township decided to ask that a tax
be voted for the erection of a schoolhouse in said subdistrict on the old site.
At the annual meeting, held one week later, the proposition was presented to
the electors, the secretary's record of the proceedings being as follows:
"No. 10, subdistrict, asked for tax to build new schoolhouse; amount, $700.
They also asked for new road to schoolhouse; amount not named. Motion made
to move schoolhouse site one hundred rods south and one-half mile west in
subdistrict number ten from what it is now, providing the tax for schoolhouse
Eighty-four ballots were cast for this motion, fifteen against, and one blank.
The school board held meetings on March 20th, April 10th, May 27th and
July 22d. But the record does not show who of the members were present,
although the testimony would indicate that a majority of the members were
present at each meeting. It appears that no motion was made or vote taken
at any one of these meetings and the secretary, so far as the transcript shows,
took no minutes of what may have been informally agreed upon.
The following advertisement appeared in the New Sharon Star for four con-
secutive weeks, beginning with the issue of June 14, 1905:
BIDS FOR SCHOOLHOUSE.
The school board of Richland township will receive bids for the building of a
new schoolhouse in Subdistrict Number 10, Richland township, Mahaska county,
Iowa. Plans and specifications are now in the hands of the secretary, with
whom bids may be left. Said bids will be opened July 22, 1905. The board re-
serves the right to reject any and all bids. Mamie Linusley, Sec,
Bids were opened and the contract awarded July 22d, and on the same date
appeal was taken to the county superintendent- who, after admitting an amend-
ment to the affidavit of appeal, proceeded with the trial and rendered a de-
cision, ordering the schoolhouse to be placed on the old site. From this de-
cision of the county superintendent the board of directors appeal to the super-
intendent of public instruction. â€¢
We can not condemn too strongly the careless manner, both in transacting
the business and in keeping the records in this school township. The secre-
tary's records should show copies of all notices posted, a complete record of all
business transacted at the annual meeting of electors, the date of every meet-
ing of the board and the place held, the members' present, the votes taken, and
every important item of business transacted. Particularly in all matters re-
lating to the voting of taxes and expending of public money the records should
be full and explicit. But in the case at bar, with four meetings of the board
held, and important questions involving the expenditure of public money de-
termined, there is no evidence that the business transacted at any of these
meetings was made a matter of record. While there is nothing in the testimony
to show that the board acted in bad faith or purposely sought to deceive, the
record is so incomplete that the actions from which appeal is sought to be made
could not be easily located or the nature of the action clearly determined.
The transcript in the case does not give a copy of the notice of the annual
SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA 101
meeting (required by section 2746 of the Code), and the record is silent as to
what said notice contained. This omission is unfortunate, for the whole ques-
tion of the legality of the action taken by the electors and the subsequent
actions of the board rests upon the contents of this notice. Section 2749 of the
Code enumerates certain powers the electors may exercise when assembled at
the annual meeting on the second Monday in March, among others the power
to vote a schoolhouse tax for the purchase of grounds and the construction of
schoolhouses. Section 2746 provides that the secretary of the board of directors
shall give not less than ten days' notice of said n^eeting by posting notices in at
least five public places in the corporation, said notices to specify "the place,
day, hours during which the meeting will be in session, specifying the number
of directors to be elected and the terms thereof, and such propositions as will
be submitted to and determined by the voters."
In the case of Goerdt v. Trmnin, 118 Iowa, page 207, the supreme court holds
that none of the propositions enumerated under section 2749 can be legally
acted upon by the electors at the annual meeting unless specific and legal notice
has been given that such proposition or propositions will be submitted. In the
case at bar, with the incomplete transcript, we are unable to know whether or
not the action taken by the electors March 13th was legal.
The preponderance of the testimony shows that the motion voted upon was
understood by the electors to combine two propositions, viz.: The location of
the site and the voting of the tax. If then the notices previously posted by the
secretary stated that the question of voting a tax to build on a site at or near
one hundred rods south and one-half mile v/est of the old site would be sub-
mitted, the vote on such question locating the schoolhouse and voting the tax
for its erection was legal and the board was without power to select a different
While the record is entirely silent as to the contents of the notice of the
annual meeting posted by the secretary, it is improbable that any mention was
made in such notice that a change of site was contemplated, for Mr. W. S.
Lindsley, in his testimony, says: "At the annual meeting I made the sugges-
. tion that we change the schoolhouse site from where it was to one hundred
rods south and a half mile west." It appears that this suggestion was made
for the first time at the annual meeting, and that it had not been mentioned in
the written notices posted by the secretary ten days before, and therefore could
not be considered by the electors. If no notice of the site proposition was
given, the fact that it was coupled with the tax proposition would invalidate
the entire vote, even if legal notice as to the tax proposition had been given,
the rule being that the proposition as voted upon must not differ in any essen-
tial from the proposition as advertised.
If then the electors acted within their rights in voting the tax and the loca-
tion, the board was under the necessity of carrying out the instruction given.
(Rodgers v. School District of Colfax, 100 Iowa, 317.) If, on the other hand,
the action of the electors in voting the tax and the location was illegal, no tax
could be legally raised and no schoolhouse could be legally constructed. In
either case an appeal would not lie. If the whole procedure has been without
warrant of law, as we suspect, the board may be enjoined from collecting or
applying any public funds for the payment of site or construction of school
102 SOHOOL LAWS OF IOWA
The county superintendent was without jurisdiction, and the case is tliere-
JOHN F. RIGGS,
Superinte7ident of Public Instruction.
Des Moines, Iowa, November 27, 1905.
Rose Byrne v. Independent School District of Struble.
Appeal from Plymouth County.
Dismissal of Teacher â€” Charges. Charges to warrant a dismissal must be
specific and sustained by evidence. Indefinite and anonymous complaints are
Dismissal of Teacher â€” Appeal â€” Burden of Proof. In a trial before the
county superintendent on an appeal from an action of the school board dis-
missing a teacher the burden of proof is on the board.
On the twenty-third day of January, 1906, the board of directors of the
Independent District of Struble met in special meeting to investigate certain
charges preferred against Rose Byrne, a teacher in the employ of said board.
At said meeting seven communications (one of them anonymous), addressed
to the school board, were read. Each of these communications contained one
or more complaints against defendant teacher. At said meeting Miss Byrne
was represented by her attorney and filed a denial of the charges. The
transcript does not show that any evidence was introduced before the board
in support of the charges, but that, after hearing the complaints read and the
denial by defendant teacher, a motion to dismiss Miss Byrne at once was car-
ried, three of the four directors present voting in the affirmative. Appeal was
taken, and the case coming on for hearing before the county superintendent,
the action of the board was reversed and Miss Byrne ordered reinstated in
her position in the Struble school, whereupon tht; board appealed to the super-
intendent of public instruction.
The case, as we view it, involves the question:
First. Can a board discharge a teacher on complaints general in character
and without the introduction of evidence to fully substantiate the same?
Second. In an appeal to the county superintendent from a decision of the
board in dismissing a teacher, is the burden of proof upon the board or upon
Section 2782 of the Code provides that a teacher may be discharged for "in-
competency, inattention to duty, partiality, or for any good cause."
While the boards are given large discretion and, in the trial of such cases, are
not required to observe the strict forms of a court of law, it is necessary that
they make thorough investigation of charges lodged; that the charges, if proven
true, be of sufficient consequence to warrant a termination of the contract, and
that such charges be specifically set out and clearly proven.
In the case at bar the charges were so general in character, and some of them
so trivial, that full testimony from creditable witnesses would be required to
convince any court of review that they were sufficient to warrant the board
in dismissing the teacher. Such testimony was not given before the board. It
was therefore the duty of the county superintendent upon appeal to take evi-
SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA 103
dence and determine the very case the board had determined. (S. L. 2819.)
When the case was before the board, the burden of proof was unquestionably
upon that body. Tlie prosecution must establish the guilt of the accused, not
the accused prove her innocence. If the board, without examining a witness
or taking a word of testimony that would have standing in any court of law,
can discharge a teacher, such board can not in the hearing before the county
superintendent insist that the burden of proof is upon the teacher. While the
county superintendent must give due weight to the decision of the board, and
will not reverse the board except upon a clear showing of violation of law or
abuse of discretion, he can not require the teacher to offer testimony in proof
of her innocence when the board has introduced no testimony to prove her guilt.
The decision of the county superintendent is Affirmed.
JOHN F. RIGGS,
Superintendent of Puhlic Instruction.
Des Moine^ Iowa, March 27, 1906.
Clyde Freeman v. D. E. Brainard,
Appeal from Harrison County.
Revocation of Certificate â€” Charges. Defendant through defective hearing is
incapacitated to properly conduct school â€” that he had been in the habit of
going to the outbuildings to smoke â€” that he was indifferent and neglectful
of his duties.
Evidence. The evidence establishes the fact that defendant was In such a
measure deaf that he could not detect by ear the disorder resulting from
whispering and that he could not properly conduct classes. It was also
shown that he smoked in the outbuilding. The evidence concerning other
complaints was not so full, but proved carelessness and indifference.
County Superintendent. The law makes it the duty of the county super-
intendent to satisfy himself of the general fitness and good moral character
of every applicant for a certificate and provides that he may revoke a certificate,
"for any cause which would have authorized or required a refusal to grant
Clyde Freeman received a uniform county certificate of good grade July 1;
He was subsequently employed as a teacher in Harrison County.
On March 18, 1910, the county superintendent of Harrison county notified
Clyde Freeman that certain complaints having been made concerning his work
as a teacher, a hearing would be held on March 25, 1910, at which time
he would be given opportunity to show why his certificate should not be
At the hearing, it was shown that plaintiff is in such measure deaf that
he can not detect by ear the disorder resulting from whispering and that
in conducting classes he must be near to and in front of the class in order
to hear well.
It was also shown that he has been in the habit of going to the outhouse
at recess for the purpose of smoking and that this fact was shown to the
104 SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA
The evidence concerning other complaints is not full, although it seems
pretty well established that there has been in some measure indifference and
neglect of the work of the school.
After the hearing, the county superintendent took the case under advise-
ment and on March 26, 1910, issued an order revoking the certificate. Clyde
Freeman now appeals to the superintendent of public instruction.
The law makes it the duty of the county superintendent to satisfy himself
of the general fitness and good moral character of every applicant for a cer-
tificate and provides that he may revoke a certificate "for any cause which
would have authorized or required a refusal to grant the same."
In the case of Walker v. Crawford, school law decisions, Hon, Henry Sabin
says: "The discretion vested in the county superintendent by law is very
large, and for this purpose, that he may guard the public schools against
the intrusion of persons unworthy or unfit for the office of teacher. The
department of public instruction can not release him from his responsibility,
nor can it interfere with his discretionary acts except upon the clearest and
most convincing proofs of violation of law, or of the influence of passion or
prejudice in the performance of his official duty."
In the case before us, the evidence shows that the county superintendent
had visited the school and was familiar with all the facts. Although the
charge is made that he was actuated by malice, we fail to find evidence of this
in the transcript.
From the facts shown we fail to find reason for reversing the decision
of the county superintendent, and his order of revocation is, therefore, sus-
tained to become effective on and after April 23rd, 1910.
JOHN F. RIGGS,
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
W. C. Arnold et al. v. School Township of Richland.
Appeal from Wapello County.
ScHOOLHousES. Schoolhouses must be located to accommodate all pupils and
may not be in an objectionable locality.
Board of Directors. School boards must provide equal school advantages to
all so far as possible either by furnishing a suitable building or by trans-
Transportation. If the schoolhouse has been destroyed and school can not
be maintained then all pupils shall be transported who live over one and
one-half miles from the schoolhouse they are directed by the board to attend.
On September 18, 1909, the board of directors of the school township of
Richland entered into a contract with Thomas Vanderpool for the use of a
building to serve as a schoolhouse in subdistrict No. 7 for the current school
year and ordered school to be held therein. From this action appeal was
taken to the county superintendent who affirmed the decision of the board,
and W. C. Arnold et al. now appeal to the superintendent of public instruction.
From a careful study of the record and of the written arguments of
counsel it appears that all admit the necessity of a schoolhouse in subdistrict
SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA 105
No. 7. This subdistrict has been without a sclioolhouse since February 16, 1908.
Since that date two elections have been held in the school township and one
in the subdistrict for the purpose of voting a schoolhouse tax with which
to build a schoolhouse in this subdistrict, but in each case the proposition
failed to receive a majority of the votes cast.
Failing in the attempt to rent a room in the subdistrict for schoolhouse
purposes during the school year 1908-1909 the board provided transportation
for the pupils of subdistrict No. 7 to other schools in the school township.
As the school year 1909-1910 approached, the electors having failed to pro-
vide funds with which to erect a schoolhouse in subdistrict No. 7, two courses
were open to the board: First, to provide transportation for the children in
this subdistrict as was done last year, or, second, rent a room and establish
a school in the subdistrict. The board chose the second alternative. But it is
charged that the building selected is remote from many homes in which school
children reside, and that the surroundings are so objectionable as to make
it undesirable for school uses. In our opinion the evidence fully sustains these
The county superintendent in her opinion raises the question as to the
legal right of the board to transport the pupils in this particular case, since
it is evident that it will cost the township more to transport the pupils of suD-
district No. 7 and provide them school privileges in other districts than it
will to maintain a school in the Vanderpool building. The law requires the
board to furnish equal school privileges as nearly as may be for all the
children of the school township. No subdistrict may be discriminated against.
If it were possible to secure a building near the center of the subdistrict
and one that would provide for the convenience and comfort of the children,
it would clearly be the duty of the board to hire such building and maintain
a school, rather than transport the children, unless it could be shown that
by transporting the children there would be a saving of expense and they
would also secure increased advantages. But in the case before us there is no
building suitably located in the subdistrict that can be secured for school
purposes. The fact that the board has hired a small building ten feet from
a barn-yard and at one side of the subdistrict can not be offered now as the
only course open since the expense is less than if provision had been made
for transporting the children to other schools. Under such circumstances it
is not only the legal right but the clear duty of the board to furnish trans-
portation. Counsel for defendant rightly contends that the board is power-
less to permanently settle this difficulty until funds are voted with which to
build a schoolhouse in subdistrict No. 7. But until such funds are provided
the board under the law must provide the children school advantages, and
since no suitable building can be hired in the subdistrict transportation must
It is clear from the evidence and from the pleadings of counsel that the
failure to vote a tax to rebuild the schoolhouse in subdistrict No. 7 is not
due to cupidity on the part of tax-payers or to their lack of appreciation of
or interest in the educational needs of the children.
The difficulty arises over a custom that seems to have prevailed in the
township for the past forty-five years by which each subdistrict has voted
the necessary funds for building its own schoolhouse when needed.
In our opinion the law gives no warrant for such usage, but on the other
106 SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA
hand clearly makes it the duty of the voters of the school township to vote
necessary taxes for the purchase of grounds and the erection of schoolhouses.
Section 274 of the Code can admit of no other interpretation. Neither is
there the slightest conflict between this section and section 2753 which pro-
vides that the voters of the subdistrict "may vote to raise a greater amount
of schoolhouse tax than tliat voted by the voters of the school township." It
was the evident intent of the legislature to afford the people in the subdistrict
the opportunity of securing a better schoolhouse than the ordinary by voting
an additional tax on the subdistrict; but it was not the intent to relieve the
township of its duty to vote a sufficient sum to purchase a site and erect a
building that would fairly meet the needs of the subdistrict.
Until the electors of the township vote the required tax the law clearly
contemplates, it is the duty of the board to do all within its power to provide
for the children resident in subdistrict No. 7 school privileges equal to those
offered the other children of the school township. It is our opinion that in
attempting to provide for such children in the Vanderpool building the board
committed an error. It is therefore directed that on and after January 1,
1910, the board of directors of the school township of Richland provide school
privileges in other schools for the children resident in subdistrict No. 7 of
said township and that transportation be provided for all such children who
reside more than one and one-half miles from the schoolhouse where they
are directed by the board to attend.
JOHN F. RIGGS,
Superintendent of Puilic Instruction.
Des Moines, Iowa, December 15, 1909.
W. M. Waskow v. Irdependent District No. 8, Center Township.
Appeal from Fayette County.
Appeal. The action of the board in fixing the schoolhouse site should not be
interfered with on appeal, except upon evidence that the board exercised its
power improperly. School boards should not act with undue haste in making
contracts when appeal is pending. Work done with undue haste to prevent
relocation of school site will not prevent relocation if evidence justifies a
Location of School Site. Tlae convenience of all residents concerned should
be subserved in choosing a site.
On the fifth day of September, 1910, the board ordered that a new school-
house be erected "six feet east of the old one," which would be on the present
schoolhouse site. On the sixth day of September, 1910, an appeal was taken
from the action of the board by W. M. Waskow to the county superintendent,
alleging that the proper place for said schoolhouse is eighty (SO) rods west
of the present school site, -wliich would be approximately in the center of the
district and that no children would be required to travel more than two (2)