APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION
507 N.E.2d 134, 154 Ill. App. 3d 375, 107 Ill. Dec. 470
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Harold A. Siegan, Judge, presiding. 1987.IL.395
JUSTICE JOHNSON delivered the opinion of the court. LINN, J., concurs. JUSTICE JIGANTI, specially Concurring.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE JOHNSON
Plaintiff, the board of education for School District No. 151, Cook County, discharged defendant, Bernice Weathers, from her position as a tenured teacher. Following an administrative hearing, the hearing officer from defendant, the State Board of Education, reversed the discharge and ordered plaintiff to reinstate Weathers, but awarded limited back pay. Plaintiff sought administrative review in the circuit court of Cook County, while Weathers sought review of the award of limited back pay. The trial court confirmed the decision of the hearing officer as not being against the manifest weight of the evidence, but set aside the award of limited back pay and remanded the issue to the hearing officer for a separate determination.
Plaintiff now appeals, contending that (1) the hearing officer erroneously interpreted and applied plaintiff's temporary-illness regulation; (2) the hearing officer made erroneous Conclusions of law; (3) the trial court erroneously applied the manifest weight of the evidence standard to questions of law; (4) if it improperly discharged Weathers, she should not receive back pay for the period before the administrative hearing; and (5) the trial court erred in failing to hold a hearing to determine the amount of lost income.
We affirm in part and reverse in part and remand.
The record shows that plaintiff adopted a regulation known as policy No. 4212 on March 16, 1981, which provides as follows:
" Temporary Illness and Temporary Incapacity
Absence caused by temporary illness or incapacity shall not affect contractual continued service (tenure).
Temporary illness and temporary incapacity shall be defined as illness, incapacity or any other condition which renders a certified employee physically or mentally unfit or unable to perform his or her duties and causes the employee to be absent from such duties for a period of less than 90 days after the exhaustion of accumulated sick leave.
If illness, incapacity or any other condition renders a certified employee physically or mentally unfit or unable to perform his or her duties and causes the employee to be absent from such duties for more than 90 days after the exhaustion of accumulated sick leave, such absence may be considered cause for termination of contractual continued service."
Weathers is a 60-year-old tenured teacher that plaintiff employed for 17 years. On May 2, 1983, plaintiff adopted a resolution discharging her, effective at the end of the 1982-83 school term. Weathers' "Notice of Charges and Dismissal" listed the following charges:
"1. You are in violation of Board Policy No. 4212 in that you have been absent for more than 90 days due to illness, to-wit: 132 days, after exhaustion of accumulated sick leave.
2. Your absence as aforesaid has not been pursuant to any mutual agreement between you and the Board of Education for a leave of absence.
3. Your illnesses, including but not limited to vocal chord polyps, acute diverticulitis, hypertension, and cataracts are of such nature and duration so as not to be considered temporary illnesses or incapacities as defined by Board Policy No. 4212 and the Illinois School Code.
4. Your absence from your teaching duties as aforesaid has resulted in irreparable injury to the students and ...