from the District Court of Williams County, Northwest
Judicial District, the Honorable Paul W. Jacobson, Judge.
De Kok (argued) and David R. Phillips (appeared), for
Christopher S. Joseph, Office of the Attorney General, for
1] New Public School District #8 appeals from a judgment
affirming the State Board of Public School Education's
decision approving annexation of certain real properties to
the Williston School District. New Public School District
argues the State Board erred in approving the petition for
annexation because the property to be annexed was not
contiguous to the Williston School District before the
petition was heard. We affirm.
2] On January 21, 2015, the State Board approved annexation
of property owned by Halliburton Energy Services to the
Williston School District. The Halliburton property is
adjacent or contiguous to the Williston School District. The
annexation of the Halliburton property was to become
effective on July 1, 2015.
3] In February 2015, Kristi and Derek Gutierrez and Sharyn
Silverio jointly petitioned to annex to the Williston School
District their properties which were part of the New Public
School District. At that time, neither the Silverio property
nor the Gutierrez property was contiguous to the Williston
School District. The Silverio property is adjacent to the
Halliburton property, and the Gutierrez property is adjacent
to the Silverio property. The Gutierrez family has two
4] On March 26, 2015, the Williams County Reorganization
Committee held a hearing on the annexation petition. Kristi
Gutierrez testified in support of the petition, and the
superintendent of the New Public School District testified
against it. After the hearing, the County Committee approved
the petition, stating the children's distance to school,
busing, inconvenience to the family, the parents' and
students' wishes, and the parents' voting rights were
all reasons supporting the annexation. The County Committee
also noted annexation was the only way the children would be
able to attend the Williston School District.
5] The Gutierrez-Silverio annexation petition was submitted
to the State Board for final approval and a hearing was held
on May 18, 2015. Kristi Gutierrez and the New Public School
District superintendent testified. The State Board approved
the petition, finding various relevant factors supported
annexation, including that the Gutierrez family had been told
their home was located in the Williston School District when
they purchased the home, the home builder had said the
children would attend the neighborhood school located in the
Williston School District, there was no other way the
children would be able to attend school in the Williston
School District, annexation would allow the petitioners to
vote and run for office in the Williston School District, and
the Williston School District supported annexation. The State
Board found the annexation petition met the statutory
requirements of N.D.C.C. §§ 15.1-12-03 and
15.1-12-04, including that the property will be contiguous to
the Williston School District on July 1, 2015, the effective
date of annexation.
6] New Public School District appealed the State Board's
decision, arguing the annexation petition did not meet
statutory requirements, because the subject property was not
contiguous to the Williston School District before or at the
time of the county committee hearing. The district court
affirmed the State Board's decision.
7] The district court had jurisdiction under N.D. Const. art.
VI, § 8, and N.D.C.C. §§ 15.1-12-05(13),
27-05-06, and 28-32-42. New Public School District's
appeal to this Court was timely under N.D.R.App.P. 4(a) and
N.D.C.C. § 28-32-49. This Court has jurisdiction under
N.D. Const. art. VI, §§ 2 and 6, and N.D.C.C.
8] The State Board is an administrative agency, and we review
its decision as we review decisions by other administrative
agencies. In re Lewis & Clark Pub. Sch. Dist.
#161, 2016 ND 41, ¶ 5, 876 N.W.2d 40. We review the
agency's decision and the record compiled before the
agency, rather than the district ...