2020 Georgia Code
Title 20 - Education
Chapter 2 - Elementary and Secondary Education
Article 8 - Consolidation of Independent and County School Systems
§ 20-2-370. Referendum on Repeal of Special School Law and Consolidation of Systems

Universal Citation: GA Code § 20-2-370 (2020)

Whenever the citizens of a municipality or independent school district authorized by law to establish and maintain a system of schools by local taxation in whole or in part are operating a system of public schools independent of the county school system and wish to annul their special school law and become a part of the county school system, they shall present and file with the governing authority of the city a petition signed by one-fourth of the qualified voters of their territory; and the governing authority shall then submit the question at an election to be held in accordance with Chapter 2 of Title 21. A majority of those voting shall be necessary to carry the election. Only qualified voters residing within the municipality or district for six months prior to the election shall vote. An election shall not be held for the same purpose more often than every 12 months.

(Ga. L. 1926, Ex. Sess., p. 40, § 1; Code 1933, § 32-1201; Ga. L. 1982, p. 3, § 20, Ga. L. 1998, p. 295, § 3.)

Law reviews.

- For survey article on local government law, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 225 (1982).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Constitutionality of abolition of local school districts.

- Abolition of local school districts by repeal of the districts' corporate charters does not violate the uniformity requirement of Ga. Const. 1976, Art. I, Sec. II, Para. VII (see now Ga. Const. 1983, Art. III, Sec. VI, Para. IV). Upson County Sch. Dist. v. City of Thomaston, 248 Ga. 98, 281 S.E.2d 537 (1981).

If systems consolidate, city school property title vested in county board.

- If, by election, an independent city school system is consolidated with the county school system, the election has the effect of vesting title to city school property in county board of education and no deed is, as a matter of law, necessary. Bailey v. County Bd. of Educ., 213 Ga. 308, 99 S.E.2d 124 (1957).

Municipality without power to donate other funds for school's support.

- After a municipality has transferred a school to the county board of education, the municipality has no legal power to donate other funds for the support of the school. Miller v. City of Cornelia, 188 Ga. 674, 4 S.E.2d 568 (1939).

Section applies to abolition of school system, not city itself.

- O.C.G.A. § 20-2-370 was intended to apply where citizens of municipality wish to abolish their city school system and become part of county school system, without abolishing the city. It was not intended to be a prerequisite to abolition of the city itself. Upson County Sch. Dist. v. City of Thomaston, 248 Ga. 98, 281 S.E.2d 537 (1981).

Cited in McCullers v. Williamson, 221 Ga. 358, 144 S.E.2d 911 (1965).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Section was not superseded or repealed by the 1945 Constitution. 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 67.

Systems cannot merge except by constitutional amendment or statutory procedure.

- No existing county school system can legally merge with an independent school system except by constitutional amendment or by following the present statutory procedure as provided by this article. 1952-53 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 335.

No existing county board of education and independent school system can merge except either by following the present statutory procedure, as set forth in this article, or through the adoption of a constitutional amendment changing the existing systems. 1960-61 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 143.

Final decision in determining merger question.

- While former Code 1933, § 32-403 (see now O.C.G.A. § 20-2-211) clearly gave the State Board of Education general supervision over the common schools of this state and contains no inhibitions against the board making suggestions or recommendations as to the advisability of merging independent school districts with county school systems, nevertheless, the final decision in determining the question of merger is vested exclusively in the qualified voters residing within the municipality or district as provided for in former Code 1933, § 32-1201 (see now O.C.G.A. § 20-2-370). 1948-49 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 513.

County, not state, board arranges for operation of merged local system.

- Former Code 1933, §§ 32-1201 and 32-1202 (see now O.C.G.A. §§ 20-2-370 and20-2-371) set forth the procedure for the merger of an independent school system with the county school system and provide that the county board of education shall arrange for the operation of the local system as a part of the county public school system; this is a function of the county board of education and not the State Board of Education. 1948-49 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 513.

Former homestead exemptions not subject to county tax.

- When an independent school system of a city was merged with the county school system, the homestead exemptions granted under Ga. L. 1946, p. 12 to the residents of the city were not subject to the tax levied by the county for school purposes. 1958-59 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 348.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 68 Am. Jur. 2d, Schools, §§ 17, 39.

C.J.S.

- 78 C.J.S., Schools and School Districts, §§ 87, 88.

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