Bullitt County History

Lee v. Trustees Of Shepherdsville Graded Common School Dist. No. 4.

The following court case is transcribed from The Southwestern Reporter, Volume 88, pages 1071-2

(Court of Appeals of Kentucky. Sept. 27, 1905.)

Ky. St. 1903, § 4471, provides that the trustees of graded common school districts shall be divided into three classes, to hold office for one, two, and three years, respectively, “or until their successors are elected and qualified,” and on the first Saturday in May following the first election, and each year thereafter, two trustees shall be elected to succeed two trustees retiring from office. At the election in 1905 all the trustees were elected, as there had been no election since the election of 1902, so that the term of all the trustees had expired. Held, that the trustees were properly elected, and authorized to submit to a vote of the electors of the district the question of the issuance of bonds in the manner provided by section 4481.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Bullitt County.

“Not to be officially reported.”

Action between W. T. Lee and the trustees of the Shepherdsville graded common school district No. 4. From a judgment for the latter, the former appeals. Affirmed.

J. R. Zimmerman, for appellant. Chas. Carroll, for appellee.

BARKER, J. The question submitted on this appeal is the validity of $4,000 of bonds issued by the appellees for the purpose of purchasing a lot and erecting a school building thereon in their school district. The circuit court rendered a judgment in favor of the validity of the bonds, from which appellant has appealed.

The bonds in question were issued in pursuance of an election held for the purpose of submitting to the voters of the district the question as to whether or not they should assume the indebtedness, with the result that a lawful majority authorized the trustees to issue the bonds. The evidence is all contained in an agreed statement of facts, which shows conclusively that all of the requirements of section 4481 of the Kentucky Statutes of 1903, which regulates the matter, were scrupulously complied with, and it is therefore not necessary to recite the provisions of the statute or of the agreed facts. So far as we are able to understand, the only real question made by appellant is whether or not the trustees were lawfully elected.

Section 4471 of the Kentucky Statutes of 1903, provides that the trustees of graded common school districts shall be divided by lot into three classes, to hold their offices for one, two, and three years, respectively, or until their successors are elected and qualified; “the two trustees selected for the shortest term to retire from office on the Second Saturday in May following their election, and the two selected for the second shortest term, and the two selected for the longest term, shall serve one year and two years, respectively, after the second Saturday in May following their election. On the first Saturday in May following the first election of trustees under this act, and the first Saturday in May of each year thereafter, there shall be elected as trustees of common Schools are elected two trustees of the said graded common school district, who shall qualify on. the second Saturday of the month of their election, to succeed the two trustees retiring from office, and to serve three years, and until their successors are elected and qualified. If, at any time, there should be a vacancy in said board, the same shall be filled by election by the remaining members, and the person elected to fill such vacancy shall hold his office until the next regular election, when his Successor shall be elected to fill out the unexpired term.” By the agreed statement of facts it appears that “on the 6th day of May, 1905, an election for trustees of said graded common School district was held at the school house of said graded school district in Shepherdsville, Ky., said election continuing from 1 o'clock p.m. to 4 o'clock p.m. on said day. At said election the following persons were voted for and elected trustees of said graded school district, namely: S. B. Simmons, O. A. Lutes, W. N. Griffin, C. F. Troutman, and C. L. Croan —which election was properly certified by the Officers thereof, and the election sheet so certified was returned to the chairman of said board of trustees on May 6, 1905. There had been no previous election of trustees since the ___ day of May, 1902, and at time of election in May, 1905, the term of all trustees had expired.”

It is now said that the election of the trustees who ordered the submission of the question of the issuance of the bonds was illegal, because they were all elected at once, instead of by classes annually, as regularly they should have been. This position is unsound. The terms of all of the old officers had expired, and they were holding over until the election of their successors. In the very nature of things, in order to meet the condition with which the district was confronted, all of the trustees must be elected at once, unless a part should be allowed to hold over still further for the want of an election. This very question arose in the case of Louisville Industrial School of Reform v. City of Louisville, 12 S. W. 710, 11 Ky. Law Rep. 567. Under the Charter of the Industrial School of Reform the board of managers, consisting of nine, were required to divide themselves into three classes of three each, “the term of one class to expire in one year, the second in two years, and the third class in three years, and in each year thereafter three managers should be elected. This mode of election continued until May, 1885, and from that time until these last managers were elected, on the 2d of May, 1889, no election was held. The general council failed to elect for the years 1886, 1887, and 1888, and when the present appellees were elected the term of office of all the old managers had expired, and all were holding over. So at the election held on the 2d of May, 1889, the general council had to determine whether an election of all nine managers should be had, or an election of only three, following with an election of three members each year.” It was held that it was the duty of the city to elect the whole board. There is less question as to the regularity of the election of the trustees in the case at bar than of the managers in the case cited. In that there were two sets of managers, each claiming to be the lawful board. In the case at bar only the appellees claim to be the lawful incumbents of the offices in question. Elections to fill such vacancies as occur in the board were regularly held in pursuance of the provision of section 4471 of the Kentucky Statutes of 1903. A careful examination of the record convinces us that the requirements of the law in reference to the issuance of the bonds involved were faithfully carried out, and there is no substantial question as to their validity. Wherefore the judgment is affirmed.

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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Jan 2024 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/lee_vs_trustees.html