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01/16/70 JACK PAULSON v. MINIDOKA COUNTY SCHOOL

January 16, 1970.

JACK PAULSON, DAN PAULSON, AND KIRK PAULSON, PLAINTIFFS-RESPONDENTS,
v.
MINIDOKA COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 331, DALE GARNER, LEONARD MARTIN, LEO MOORE, KENNETH SHUFELDT, DAVE SPREIER, AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS TRUSTEES OF SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 331, AND CAMDEN MEYER, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS



McQuade, Justice. McFadden, C. J., and Donaldson, and Spear, JJ., concur. Shepard, J., sat but did not participate in the opinion.

Author: Mcquade

This action was instituted by Jack Paulson, and his sons Dan and Kirk Paulson, to secure an alternative writ of mandate, a peremptory writ of prohibition, declaratory relief, general damages, punitive damages and costs of the action. They sought to compel the defendants Minidoka County School District, its trustees and superintendent, hereinafter referred to collectively as the "school," to furnish a transcript of grades to Dan Paulson who graduated from Minidoka County High School in June, 1968. Dan and Kirk both attended the high school during the school year 1967-1968. Dan graduated that school year, and Kirk attended school during the 1968-1969 term. The issues in the present case arose from the adoption in 1967 by the Board of Trustees of the Minidoka County School District of the following schedule of fees to be charged each student attending the high school:

"School District Fees $2.50

Text Book Fees 10.00

Activity Ticket 3.50

Student Council Fee 1.00

Newspaper 1.00

Annual (Yearbook) 5.60

Cap and Gown Fee 1.00

Class Fee .40

$25.00"

In July, 1968, the fee schedule was amended so that although the same total of $25.00 per student was charged, the fees were itemized only as "Text Book Fees" -- $12.50 and "School Activity Fees" -- $12.50, total $25.00.

Dan and Kirk Paulson have each year refused to pay these fees. The school would not accept partial payment allocated to any one particular item, but insisted that the fees be paid in their entirety. Failure to pay the fees, however, did not in any way affect the student's right to attend classes. Not only were nonpaying students allowed to attend classes, but they were also furnished textbooks free of charge. Until 1968-1969 all students were regularly given a student activity card and thereby allowed to attend social and athletic events even though the fees were not paid. Yearbooks were not furnished, nor were nonpaying students allowed to purchase a yearbook since the school's policy was that the entire $25.00 fee be paid. Upon graduation Dan Paulson was furnished a cap and gown and presented a diploma.

Although a student could thus accumulate an "education" without payment of the fees, the impediment is that the school refuses to furnish a transcript of courses studied and grades achieved. When Dan applied to Idaho State University for admission, the school would not furnish a University required transcript. Dan was, however, provisionally admitted and this action was instituted to compel the high school to furnish a transcript.

Following trial, the district court rendered judgment that the fee charging practice of the school district is unconstitutional and issued a writ of mandate ordering the defendants to furnish Idaho State University a transcript. The court denied the respondents' prayer for damages. It is from that judgment that the appellants take this appeal.

Our task in this case is to determine the application of art. 9, sec. 1 of the Constitution of the State of Idaho to this particular factual situation. That section is:

"The stability of a republican form of government depending mainly upon the intelligence of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislature of Idaho, to establish and maintain a general, uniform ...


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