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Bd. of Educ. South Stickney v. Murphy

OPINION FILED JANUARY 12, 1978.

BOARD OF EDUCATION SOUTH STICKNEY SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 111, COOK COUNTY, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

ROBERT MURPHY ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RAYMOND K. BERG, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DIERINGER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County, denying a motion for summary judgment made by the Board of Education, South Stickney School District Number 111 (hereinafter called "the Board"). The Board originally brought suit in the circuit court seeking to vacate an arbitrator's award, as contrary to law. The court below considered the matter upon the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, entered an order denying the Board's motion and affirmed the arbitrator's award by granting the motion for summary judgment made by Robert Murphy and the Southwest Suburban Teacher's Union (hereinafter called "the defendants").

The issue presented for review is whether a provision of a collective bargaining agreement between the Board and the defendants, whereby the Board promised to grant a minimum number of sabbatical leaves, is enforceable, in the face of a specific statute which grants the Board the discretionary power to award a sabbatical leave only upon a finding by the Board the leave would benefit the school district.

On January 25, 1973, the defendant, Robert Murphy, applied for a sabbatical leave for the 1973-1974 school year, pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement then in force between the Board and defendant Teacher's Union, and further pursuant to the Illinois School Code section on sabbatical leaves (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 122, par. 24-6.1). Mr. Murphy is a certified classroom teacher in the Board's School District. The stated purpose of his sabbatical leave was to "* * * complete courses needed to meet the requirements for a state certificate in counseling and guidance." The request for sabbatical leave was denied by the Board for budgetary reasons, and because the Board did not need any more counselors, as all counselor positions were filled.

The defendants filed a grievance alleging the sabbatical leave section of the collective bargaining agreement had been violated.

The collective bargaining agreement in question provides, in pertinent part:

"ARTICLE III. GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

The jurisdiction of the Arbitrator shall be expressly limited to disputes involving the application of this Agreement, the construction or interpretation of this Agreement and the application of existing Board policy. Within his jurisdiction, the decision of the Arbitrator shall be binding on the parties. The Arbitrator shall have no authority to add to, delete from, or change the terms of this Agreement.

ARTICLE VI. LEAVES-SABBATICAL LEAVES

Section 15. (a) Leaves may be granted to a maximum of twelve (12) teachers per year. A minimum of two (2) teachers will be granted sabbatical leave if all other conditions of this Section are met.

(b) A sabbatical leave committee will be formed by the Superintendent and the Union. This committee will consist of: the Superintendent; an elementary school administrator, and elementary (K-6) teacher, a junior high teacher and a special education teacher. The Superintendent will chair the committee; he will not serve in a voting capacity. The committee's recommendations will be purely advisory and will not be binding on the Board, except as outlined in Section 15(a) above.

ARTICLE X. AGREEMENT

Section 1. The terms of this Agreement shall not apply where inconsistent with constitutional, statutory, ...


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