APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Livingston County; the Hon.
DARRELL H. RENO, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Rehearing denied April 7, 1981.
"Liquidated damages" policy as to teachers' contracts.
Resignation of a tenured teacher.
Does a school board have authority to adopt such a policy?
If so, was it enforceable as to this teacher?
We are required in this case to determine the validity of the following liquidated damages policy adopted by defendant school board:
"All contracts between the Pontiac Township High School and certificated personnel are entered into in good faith with the intent that the obligations stated in or implied by the contract are to be met fully.
Procedures for resignations to be effective at the close of a contractual period are adequately covered in the statutes.
Resignations terminated during a contractual period are to be mutually agreed upon by the employee and the Board of Education. These resignations, when initiated by the employee, not only cause undue hardship on the students, but create additional concern for the Board of Education and necessitate the expenditure of funds in seeking a replacement.
When a resignation is initiated by an employee for reasons other than for extenuating circumstances, the resigned shall pay the school district four (4) per cent of contract salary as liquidated damages for breach of employment contract. Employee initiated resignations will not be honored until a satisfactory replacement assumes the duty of the resigner.
Reference to this policy shall be made in all certificated employee contracts and, or notices of continuance of employment."
Here is the sequence of events that led to the instant litigation:
August 6, 1979 Defendant adopted its liquidated damages policy;
August 27, 1979 Plaintiff, a tenured teacher, began his duties for the 1979-80 school year;
September 13, 1979 Plaintiff received a "Contractual Continued Service Notification" from defendant, stating the salary plaintiff would receive for the 1979-80 school year, with ...