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Pearson v. Board of Education

NOVEMBER 19, 1956.

C. DAVID PEARSON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

BOARD OF EDUCATION, COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DIST. NO. 5, MACOUPIN COUNTY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macoupin county; the Hon. L.E. WILHITE, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

JUDGE CARROLL DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This is an appeal from an order of the Circuit Court affirming the action of the Board of Education of Community Unit School District No. 5, in Macoupin County, in discharging the plaintiff, C. David Pearson, as a teacher for said district.

Plaintiff had been a teacher in the defendant district for eight years and in May, 1954 had entered into a written contract to teach in said district for a period of nine months, commencing on the first day of September, 1954, at a salary of $4050 for the school year. At a special meeting of the Board of Education held on September 3, 1954, plaintiff was discharged and was given written notice that he was suspended and discharged for the best interests of the school district. Plaintiff then requested and was granted a hearing under the Teachers Tenure Law. Upon such hearing the Board adopted a resolution discharging plaintiff as of November 4, 1954 and finding that the causes for such dismissal were not remediable and that the best interests of the district required his dismissal.

Plaintiff thereupon brought this action under the provisions of the Administrative Review Act to review the decision of the Board of Education.

One of the grounds relied upon for reversal is that plaintiff was not given proper notice of his discharge.

The defect which plaintiff contends renders the notice insufficient is the failure thereof to state a specific reason for his dismissal. It appears from the record that the dismissal notice insofar as it pertains to the reasons for the Board's action contained the following:

"(a) It is the opinion of the members of the Board of Education of Community Unit School District No. 5 that the suspension and discharge become effective because the best interests of the schools require it.

"(b) Due to your uncontrollable temper you fail to have proper co-operation with the administrators, your fellow teachers and the students of Community Unit School District No. 5 High School."

The question raised by plaintiff is whether this notice meets with the requirements of the Statute under which the Board exercised its authority to dismiss the plaintiff.

Section 24-3 of the School Code, Chap. 122, Illinois Revised Statutes, 1953, provides in part as follows:

"Notwithstanding the entry upon contractual continued service, any teacher may be removed or dismissed for the reasons or causes provided in Sections 6-36 and 7-16, in the manner hereinafter provided. . . . If the dismissal or removal is for any other reason or cause it shall not become effective until approved by a majority vote of all members of the board upon specific charges and after a hearing, if a hearing is requested in writing by the teacher within ten days after the service of notice as herein provided. Written notice of such charges shall be served upon the teacher at least sixty days before the effective date of the dismissal or removal . . ."

Under Section 6-36 [Ill. Rev. Stats. 1953, Ch. 122, § 6-36] the board of school directors has the power "to dismiss a teacher for incompetency, cruelty, negligence, immorality or other sufficient cause."

Section 7-7 of the Code [Ill. Rev. Stats. 1953, Ch. 122, § 7-7] provides that the "Board of Education has all the duties of school directors as set forth in Article 6."

Section 7-16 of the Code [Ill. Rev. Stats. 1953, Ch. 122, § 7-16] gives the Board "power to dismiss and remove any teacher, whenever, in its opinion, he is not qualified to teach, or whenever, in its opinion, the interests of the schools require it, ...


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