APPEAL from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon.
FRANCIS E. MAXWELL, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE EBERSPACHER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied March 16, 1977.
This is an appeal from the circuit court of St. Clair County where the court sitting without a jury held for the plaintiffs in an action for breach of contract.
Plaintiff DeWitt Weary is president of Local 1220 of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, the exclusive bargaining representative for the teachers employed by defendant Board of Education School District No. 189, East St. Louis, Illinois. DeWitt Weary and the teachers union initiated the original action in this case. This appeal involves the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the parties for the 1969-70 academic year.
During the negotiations leading to the agreement in question reliance by the parties had to be made on estimated figures in determining the funds available for salary increases. Historically teachers' salary increases equaled 65% of any increase in revenues over the preceding year. For example, if the increase in revenues was $100,000, 65% or $65,000 would be used for salary increases.
During the negotiations the defendant School Board made it known that it projected a $950,000 deficit from the 1968-69 academic year. The cause of the deficit is absent from the record. The School Board also projected an increase in State aid of $2,350,000 due to a change in the funding formula used by the State.
On June 12, 1969, an agreement was reached for the 1969-70 academic year which included the following provision:
Local 1220 and District 189 agree that $950,000.00 of any increase in state aid in the year 1969-70 shall be used to decrease the projected deficit, or liability, of the District; that 65% of the remainder of any increase in state aid shall be used as designated by Local 1220 for increased salaries and fringe benefits for persons represented by Local 1220 in accordance with a salary schedule to be submitted hereafter by Local 1220 and/or for any other budget item as designated by Local 1220.
Should the School Board fail to use said $950,000.00 for the above purpose, then the persons covered by this Agreement shall receive 65% of that part of said sum not so used as a retroactive pay increase as designated by Local 1220."
At the conclusion of the 1968-69 fiscal year, an audit of defendant's finances was made which showed a deficit for that year to be $851,000 as opposed to the projected deficit of $950,000. During the 1969-70 academic year the defendant received an increase in State funds of $2,598,000 as opposed to the projected increased of $2,350,000. At the conclusion of the 1969-70 fiscal year an audit of defendant's finances showed the deficit to be $1,160,000. This result touched off the instant action.
Plaintiffs, as a result of the increased deficit, demanded a retroactive pay increase in accordance with the second paragraph of article XIX of the collective bargaining agreement. The School Board refused to pay the increase, contending that the projected deficit from 1968-69 was in fact decreased.
The trial court, after hearing the evidence, found:
"* * * that the defendant did not use the said sum of $950,000.00, or any part thereof, to decrease the projected deficit, or liability of the district; that the deficit, or liability, of the district increased to the sum of $1,160,104.00; that by reason of the failure of the defendant to use the said $950,000.00 to decrease the projected deficit, or liability, of the district, that the persons covered by the said agreement were entitled to ...