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Cook v. Board of Education

OPINION FILED JULY 18, 1984.

PAMELA COOK ET AL., PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES AND CROSS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF EDWARDSVILLE COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 7, MADISON COUNTY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. Jonathan Isbell, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE KARNS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 14, 1984.

The board of education of Edwardsville Community Unit School District No. 7, Madison County (board), appeals from the judgment of the circuit court of Madison County awarding damages to Pamela Cook in the amount of $2,389, ordering the board to give Cook credit on the salary schedule for one year's teaching experience as a graduate assistant at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIU-E), and ordering each party to pay its own costs. Pamela Cook and James Jackson, teachers, cross-appeal from that portion of the judgment and that portion of the subsequent denial of the motion to vacate judgment which denied relief to James Jackson and held that Cook was barred from recovery for damages prior to May 4, 1977, by the five-year statute of limitations. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 110, par. 13-205.

Pamela Cook was hired by the board in 1972 as a full-time teacher of business education. The year before she was hired she was a graduate student at SIU-E and held a graduate teaching assistantship as a typing instructor. As a graduate assistant she was responsible for planning classwork, teaching, and grading student work. She also attended faculty meetings and served on faculty committees. She was a certified teacher at the time she worked for the university. When she was hired by the board, Cook was refused credit on the salary schedule for her experience as a graduate assistant.

James Jackson was hired by the board in 1978 as a half-time audio-visual director. He became the full-time audio-visual director in 1979. Jackson was refused credit for his experience as an audio-visual intern in the Mt. Prospect school district. At Mt. Prospect he was paid less than the regular teacher's salary but worked full time as assistant audio-visual director.

The board hired both Cook and Jackson after the Edwardsville Education Association (EEA) became the sole bargaining agent for teachers in the district in 1969. The contract between the board and the EEA provided that:

"3) Teachers new to the system shall be given credit on the salary schedule as follows:

1. Full credit for the first five years

2. Half credit for the next ten years."

The board adopted the contract provision into its policy in the following form:

"Teachers entering the school system after this date shall receive full credit for five years experience and half credit for the next ten years experience in other school districts."

The policy continued unchanged until April 14, 1980, when the board voted to

"give full credit for 1979-1980 salary schedule for past public school teaching experience and that this adjustment be made on the June, 1980 paycheck."

This change brought Edwardsville's policy into compliance with section 24-8 of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 122, par. 24-8), as interpreted in Hardway v. Board of Education (1971), 1 Ill. App.3d 298, 274 N.E.2d 213. Hardway affirmed the trial court's judgment ...


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