might not be acceptable to the appellant." It would bankrupt many independent
districts in the state were such districts compelled to hire special vehicles to
transport different families located as is Mr. Strike. No such result will occur
by making an allowance for the transportation of children as suggested in his
case. It must be acknowledged that Mr. Strike is not as fortunately situated
with respect to neighbors having children to send to school as are the patrons
in the northern part of the district, and it seems improbable that the district
could hire a special driver to transport his children without incurring an ex-
pense to the district nearly equal to the total expense of transporting the chil-
dren of several families living north from Leland. We believe the claim of Mr.
Strike is entitled to recognition by the board and that he should be allowed an
amount for the transportation of his children at least in proportion to the aver-
age cost of transporting other children in the district.
"When there will be a saving of expense, and children will also thereby secure
increased advantages, it may arrange with any person outside the board for the
transportation of any child to and from school in the same or in another cor-
poration and the expenses shall be paid from the contingent fund." Section
2774 of the School Laws.
Simply because one family may be somewhat isolated from other families
should not excuse the district from furnishing that family as far as possible
equal school advantages with other families grouped together and similarly
situated with respect to distance from school.
"While the law does not prescribe a maximum for school travel, yet by per-
mitting provisions to be made under given conditions for children to attend
other schools than their own when they live more than one and one-half miles
from the latter, it is evident that the legislature regarded that distance about
as far as a child should travel to reach school." Severeid d- S'tenherg v. Independ-
ent District of Fieldberg, S. L. Decisions. Also Section 2803, School Laws of
"While it is incumbent on the board to furnish reasonable school privileges
for all children of the township, it is often the better plan to transport pupils
to existing schools than to establish additional schools." Hancock et al. v. School
Township of FranlcUn, S. L. Decisions. Also S. L. Decision, Afnold et al v.
School Township of Richland, and Supreme Court decision sustaining the opin-
ion of the Superintendent of Public Instruction in Arnold case, 152 Iowa, 500.
"The board of each school corporation * * * shall estimate the amount
required for the contingent fund, * * * and such additional sum as may be
necessary not exceeding five dollars for each person of school age for trans-
porting children to and from school." Section 2806, School Laws of Iowa.
A district whose taxable valuation is large, or a district embracing a larger
area than the customary four sections, should undoubtedly avail itself of its
ability to raise funds for the proper support of its school or schools. We do not
feel that any school board has exhausted its power to provide proper school
advantages for children living an unreasonable distance from school until it has
SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA 129
taken full advantage of the law as found in Section 2806 of the School Laws.
No other interpretation of the law can consistently harmonize with the principle
of providing equal school privileges as far as possible for all children. The law
limits the amount that may be levied for transportation purposes, consequently
there can be no danger of embarrassing any district financially for this pur-
pose. We believe it is consistent with the law and only fair to appellant, for
the board to make a reasonable allowance for the transportation of his children
to the Leland school. We are of the opinion that it would be unfair to base the
allowance on the attendance of one child considering the total number of chil-
dren transported as given in the stipulation of facts in case there should be only
one child attending school from the Strike farm and the resident of said farm
were compelled to furnish his own horse and vehicle of transportation.
In so far as the decision of the county superintendent is based upon the propo-
sition that Section C, Chapter 143, Acts of the Thirty-fifth General Assembly
(Section 2794-a2, School Laws of Iowa, Edition 1911) is applicable to the Inde-
pendent School District of Leland, the same is reversed, but inasmuch as his
ruling is proper on the ground of an unreasonable distance for small children
to travel to school and that the children of Mr. Strike are entitled to equal
school privileges with other children in the district in as far as the board is able
to provide, his decision is affirmed except that the same is hereby modified so as
to permit the school board to make to Mr. Strike, or his successors, an allow-
ance for transportation of his children equal at least to the average cost of
transporting pupils to school in said district, from and after the commencement
of the next term of school in said district in lieu of transporting said children,
by electing so to do by August 15, 1914, notice of such election to be filed with
the county superintendent of schools of Winnebago county, provided that the
minimum allowance shall not be less than six dollars per school month.
The decision of the county superintendent is therefore Affirmed.
A. M. DEYOE,
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Des Moines, Iowa, June 22, 1914.
John Allsup et al v. The Independent School District of Maple Grove,
Appeal from Mahaska County.
Boundaries. The description of the boundaries given in the original notice and
the notice of election should be the same.
Notice. Due and legal notice of election must be given. The statute, however,
does not require that the description shall be printed on the ballot as the voters
have ample opportunity to familiarize themselves with the posted description of
the territory included in the consolidation.
The above entitled action relates to the formation of the Consolidated Inde-
pendent School District of Wright, Mahaska county, as provided in Section
2794-a, School Laws of Iowa, edition of 1911. (Chapter 141, Acts of the Thirty-
first G. A., as amended by Chapter 143, Acts of the Thirty-fourth G. A.^
Briefly stating the history of the case, the proposed consolidation includes the
130 SOHOOL LAWS OP IOWA
Maple Grove, and parts of the rural independent districts of Buckeye and Pleas-
ant Grove, all in Mahaska county. The petition describing the boundaries of
the proposed consolidated independent school district containing not less than
sixteen (16) sections of land and signed by more than the required number or
voters was approved by the county superintendent and filed with the school
board of the Independent District of Maple Grove^
The following is quoted from the secretary's minutes of a called meeting of
the school board of the Independent District of Maple Grove, held at Wright on
the 19th day of May, 1914: "A petition has been circulated and signed by more
than one-third of the qualified voters of the school districts of Unity of Spring
Creek, Zoar of Harrison, South White Oak of White Oak, and Maple Grove of
Cedar Township, to call an election to vote on the question, 'Shall the proposed
whole of the rural independent districts of Zoar, Unity, South White Oak, and
Consolidated Independent District of Wright be established?' said petition being
approved by the county superintendent May 16, 1914, and placed in my hands
May 18, 1914." An election was called on June 2, 1914, and the secretary in-
structed to post notice of election. A map of the proposed consolidated independ-
ent district shows the village of Wright to be located at the four corners of
the independent districts of Unity, Zoar, South White Oak, and Maple Grove.
Appellant denies the validity of the proceedings by which the Consolidated
Independent School District of Wright was established and organized and here-
by seeks to have the establishment and organization of said Consolidated Inde-
pendent School District of Wright nullified. Several irregularities and errors in
the proceedings are charged by appellant in his affidavit of appeal and an
amendment thereto. Counsel for appellant places special emphasis upon the fol-
lowing alleged particulars wherein the law was disregarded:
"That there is a fatal variance between the petition, the notice of election, and
the question as submitted upon the ballot. No two of the same being alike."
"That there was no petition filed in the district having the greatest number of
voters, as provided by law, as a basis for the calling of the said election, and
that there was no election called and held to vote upon the organization of the
proposed district by the Board of Directors of the district within said territory
having the greatest number of voters, as provided by law."
"That said notices of election provided for an election at which the polls
should be opened at 10 o'clock a. m., which is contrary to law."
The ruling of the county superintendent, dated August 14, 1914, contains the
following: "It is hereby decided that there is no merit in the appeal; that the
law has been substantially complied with in the matter of procuring and filing
the petition for consolidation; that the election was legally held, and that the
judges and clerk of said election were legally qualified to act, and that the
statute has been substantially complied with in every respect."
Appeal is carried to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
We find that the descriptions of the boundaries given in the original copies of
the petition and the notice of election are the same, and that no error was com-
mitted in this respect. With reference to the allegation that an exact and com-
plete description of the boundaries of the proposed consolidated district should
have been printed on the ballot and that said description on the ballot should
correspond to those given in the petition and in the notice of election, we are of
the opinion that the law nowhere makes any such requirement. Undoubtedly
in case the description of the boundaries were printed on the ballot, then said
SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA 131
description should agree with the descriptions given in the petition and in the
notice of election. We do not find that the statute requires that the description
be printed on the ballot. In fact, since the law makes no such requirement, we
are of the opinion that such printing of the description of the boundaries on the
ballot would be entirely useless and superfluous. Every voter had ample oppor-
tunity to become familiar with the description of the territory included in the
proposed consolidation by reading the notice of election. The statute implies
that notice in writing of such propositions as will be submitted to and be de-
termined by the voters, shall be posted by the secretary of the board in at least
five public places in said corporation, for not less than ten days next preceding
the day of the meeting." The proposition submitted in this case was set forth
in the petition describing the boundaries of the proposed district and requesting
the establishment of a consolidated independent district. (Section 2746, School
Laws of Iowa, edition 1911.) Section 2749 of the School Laws of Iowa, edition
1911, practically suggests the form of a ballot to be used in school elections.
There are advantages in having a form of ballot that is as simple as possible
and yet clearly stating the proposition to be voted upon. The wording of the
ballot used was as follows:
Shall the districts of Zoar, Unity, Maple Grove, South White Oak, and parts
of Buckeye and Pleasant Grove districts be formed into a consolidated district?
We believe a better wording would have been as follows:
Shall the proposed Consolidated Independent District of Wright be established?
A note of explanation as to how to mark the ballot when voting "Yes," or
when voting "No" would have been instructive to the voters.
The evidence does not show that any other proposed consolidated independent
district including any of the territory included in the proposed Consolidated
Independent District of Wright was being considered.
We do not excuse the action of the school board in fixing an hour for the
opening of the polls different from that as provided in Section 2754, School
Laws of Iowa, edition 1911. It was a dangerous thing to do, and might easily
have resulted in sufficient cause for the courts to rule the election not legally
conducted. Section 2754 of the School Laws, provides that the polls in rural
independent districts shall open at 1 o'clock p. m. and must remain open not
less than two hours. Appellant finds no fault with the hour of closing the polls,
viz., 3 o'clock p. m.
Mack's Cyclopedia of Law and Procedure contains the following concerning
the construction of a statute with respect to the conduct of elections: "The
provisions of a statute as to the time of opening and closing the polls is so far
directory that an irregularity in this respect which does not deprive a legal
voter of his vote or aJmit a disqualified person to vote will not vitiate the elec-
tion. But if the departure from the provisions of the statute in regard to the
time of opening or closing the polls was so great that it must be deemed to have
affected the result, the election must be called invalid." Volume 15, page 364.
From the above citation, it appears that the courts have not held an election
illegal because of an irregularity as to the time of opening or closing the polls
unless it has been shown that illegal votes were cast or that persons were de-
132 SOHOOL LAWS OP IOWA
prived of their right to vote by reason of such irregularity. No such charge is
made, neither does the testimony reveal any such condition. However, the ques-
tion of the legality of an election has always been considered a matter for the
courts to determine.
Finally, we find no testimony taken in the trial before the county superin-
tendent showing that any voter was misled or deceived concerning the proposi-
tion voted upon in marking his ballot, that no one was deprived of his rights
and privileges as a voter, or that any one voted who was not a legal voter by
reason of the opening of the polls at 10 o'clock. Neither does the testimony
establish the contention of appellant that the petition was not filed with the
proper board, viz., the school board of the Independent District of Maple Grove.
After carefully reading the transcript, including the testimony, we agree with
the county superintendent, "that the statute has been substantially complied
with in every respect."
The decision of the county superintendent is, therefore, Affirmed.
A. M. DEYOE,
Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Des Moines, Iowa, November 18, 1914.
J. G. Shea v. The District Township of Pilot.
Appeal frovi Cherokee County.
Duty of Parents. It is not the intention of the statute to place all the respon-
sibility and all inconvenience upon the board and take all responsibility of
transportation from the parents.
Powers of Board. There is no impropriety under the law in a board making an
allowance to parents for transportation but it is purely discretionary.
Distance. There may be some injustice to fix a maximum limit as a reason-
able distance to travel to school. Something depends upon the conditions of the
highway and the age of the pupils.
Appellant is a farmer living in Pilot township, Cherokee county, Iowa. He
has four children of school age; the youngest being about six and the oldest
twelve years of age. The nearest school to his home by a traveled highway is
about two and one-half miles. An explanation of the distance of appellant's
home from school is made in his affidavit of appeal as follows:
"That there is no schoolhouse or school in said Pilot township nearer to af-
fiant's home than about two miles and one-half except a schoolhouse located
across the Little Sioux River, which is inaccessible by reason of the fact that
there is no bridge or crossing over said river nearer than about two miles and a
half from affiant's home, making the travel to said schoolhouse from affiant's
home a distance of about five miles."
It is averred that appellant at different times made application to the school
board of the District Township of Pilot to allow or furnish transportation for his
children to and from school. The school board had directed that appellant's
children attend school in subdistrict No. 5, which is the school located about
two and one-half miles from his home. The authority of the board of directors
to direct where children shall attend school within the corporation is fixed by
Section 2773 of the Code. (Same section in School Laws, edition of 1911.) The
SCHOOL LAWS OP IOWA 133
board agreed to allow appellant $10.00 per month for the transportation of his
children to school in said subdistrict No. 5. This amount was accepted by him
for a spring term of school of about two months. Appellant became dissatisfied
with the amount paid by the board, refused to accept the allowance, and de-
manded that the board of directors furnish transportation for his children to
school. Appellant has sent his children to a parochial school, at his own ex-
pense, in the city of Cherokee, a distance of about four miles, nearly all of the
time they have attended school.
Conditions with respect to distance to school have not changed since Mr. Shea
purchased the farm where he now resides. He purchased the farm knowing
these conditions. No school has been closed or discontinued to cause him
Another school patron, a neighbor of Mr. Shea, by the name of Townsend, has
been transporting his children, seven in number, to subdistrict No. 1, a distance
of three and one-half miles, for the sum offered appellant, namely $10.00.
Several disputed questions are forced upon us for consideration in the case
1. What is the meaning of the following language of the law found in Sec-
tion 2774? "The board of directors * * * may arrange with any person out-
side the board for the transportation of any child to and from school * * *."
2. Did the school board err or violate the law by offering Mr. Shea $10.00 per
month to transport his children to school? In other words, is it illegal for a
board to contract with a parent to transport his own children to school? 8. In
case the parent refuses to accept the amount the board agrees to allow him for
transporting his own children to school, can the board be compelled to hire a
driver who shall furnish a team and wagon for the purpose of transporting the
children of every family to school that happens to be situated at a distance that
may reasonably be considered too great for children to walk to school, regu-
larly? 4. Was the sum of $10.00 allowed by the board to Mr. Shea a reason-
able compensation under the circumstances? 5. The question also arises, what
shall be considered an unreasonable distance for children to travel to school?
6. Should the law be construed to mean that it is an abuse of its discretionary
power for a board to refuse to provide or make an allowance for the transpor-
tation of children to school, who reside at an unreasonable distance from school
for children to walk? 7. Should the condition of the roads the children must
travel and the age of the children receive consideration in determining the ques-
tion at bar? 8. Should the ability of the district financially to pay transporta-
tion be taken into account?
We believe the foregoing questions are vital. We are of the opinion that
the power vested in boards of directors of all school corporations, concerning
allowing or furnishing transportation for children to school at the expense of
the district, except in those districts organized under the provisions of Section
2794-a, Supplement to the Code, 1913 (also School Laws of Iowa, edition of
1911), is set forth in Section 2774 of the Code (also School Laws of Iowa).
Section 2774 provides as follows: "And when there will be a saving of ex-
pense, and children will also thereby secure increased advantages, it may ar-
range with any person outside the board for the transportation of any child to
and from school in the same or in another corporation, and such expense shall
be paid from the contingent fund."
The provision made by law for transportation of pupils in paragraph (c).
134 SOHOOL LAWS OF IOWA
Section 2794-a, Supplement to the Code, 1913, applies only to consolidated inde-
pendent districts where conditions are entirely different from those found in
any other form of school district. The consolidated independent district plan
contemplates a unit consisting of a larger territorial area where it is feasible
to employ regular drivers and where the use of the special wagons for trans-
porting children can be provided without too great expense per capita for chil-
dren transported to school. Section 2774 remains in the Code unchanged as
amended by the Twenty-first General Assembly, neither has a subsequent ses-
sion of the General Assembly passed any law in any way modifying the provi-
sions of this section as applicable to certain forms of school corporations.
We think the county superintendent is correct in his opinion, "That it is not
the intention of the statute to place all the responsibility and all the incon-
venience upon the board, and to take all of the responsibility and all of the in-
convenience from the patrons of the children living an unreasonable distance
There are school corporations in the state, not organized as consolidated in-
dependent districts, where if each family living an unreasonable distance from
school could demand that the school board furnish transportation by hiring a
special driver and conveyance, that the expense would prohibit the mainten-
ance of the number of months of school each year that should be maintained in
each school. The use of the words, "may arrange," and also of the words, "out-
side the board," clearly prescribe that the matter of providing transportation
and the method of providing transportation for children to school are discre-
tionary powers of the board. In "arranging" for transportation of children to
school, it is purely within the discretion of the board to make an allowance of
money to a parent to transport his own child or children to school, or the board
may employ some other person to transport them. The amount that shall be
paid for such purpose is clearly a discretionary power of the board, also. There
is no impropriety under the law in the action of the board of Pilot township
making an allowance to Mr. Shea for transporting his children to school. In
fact, it is the only arrangement the board could be expected to make.
We are of the opinion that there are conditions concerning distance children
are compelled to travel to school, where a refusal on the part of a board to
"arrange" for transportation would be a violation of discretionary power vested
in school boards.
The question to be determined is whether the board abused its discretionary
power under the terms of the law as provivded in Section 2774.
In Section 2803 of the Code (also same section in School Law, edition of
191i;, provision is made whereby children may attend school in another school
corporation when living over one and one-half miles from their own school, but
nearer a school in another corporation. A patron may not demand this privi-
lege, however, as an agreement of both school boards must be obtained, or the
consent of the county superintendent of the county in which the child resides
and also the consent of the school board of such adjoining school corporation.
Again, the compulsory attendance law, as provided in Section 2823-a, Supple-
ment to the Code, 1913, (same section in School Laws), "shall not apply to
any child who lives more than two miles from any school by the nearest
traveled road except in those districts in which the pupils are transported at
public expense." While the law does not specify what distance shall be con-
sidered as an unreasonable distance for children to walk to school, the con-
SCHOOL LAWS OF IOWA 135
elusion is natural that a distance exceeding one and one-half to two miles
should be considered too far for small children especially to travel to school,
regulai-ly. There may be some injustice to fix arbitrarily a maximum limit as