APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT
BOARD OF EDUCATION, BENTON CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO.
518 N.E.2d 1257, 165 Ill. App. 3d 514, 116 Ill. Dec. 277 1988.IL.37
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Franklin County; the Hon. Larry O. Baker, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE LEWIS delivered the opinion of the court. CALVO and WELCH, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LEWIS
Defendant, Benton Federation of Teachers, Local No. 1956 (the Federation), appeals from a judgment of the circuit court of Franklin County holding a provision of the collective bargaining agreement of the Federation and the plaintiff, Board of Education of Benton Consolidated School District No. 47 (the District), illegal under Illinois law and ordering the parties to bargain in good faith to adopt provisions for promotion, transfer, and job elimination in future collective bargaining agreements.
The provision in question had been a part of the parties' collective bargaining agreements since 1969. In essence, it provided, with certain variations over the years, that vacant teaching positions within the school district were to be filled by the applicant with the greatest district seniority, where the applicants' qualifications were otherwise comparable. Disputes arising under the provision were to be subject to the grievance procedure outlined in the collective bargaining agreement and, if not resolved, were to be submitted for binding arbitration.
The provision contained in the 1984-85 collective bargaining agreement provided:
"When two or more qualified, tenured teachers apply for the same position or assignment, the teacher with the greatest District seniority shall be appointed. Qualified shall be defined as meeting State requirements for that position or assignment. District seniority shall be defined as the length of continuing service as a teacher within District 47. If there is a conflict, the interested party may challenge the decision under the grievance procedure as outlined under Article IV."
While the District agreed to the inclusion of this provision in the 1984 collective bargaining agreement, an unresolved dispute remained after the agreement was signed.
During contract negotiations between the parties during the summer of 1984, the District had taken the position that the paragraph was an "illegal and void" provision in the collective bargaining agreement. A memorandum was signed by both parties, acknowledging that by signing the 1984 collective bargaining agreement, the District did not waive its legal position concerning the legality of the contested provision.
On March 6, 1985, the District filed a complaint in the circuit court of Franklin County, naming the Federation as a party defendant and seeking a declaration with respect to the legality of the contested provision in the 1984 collective bargaining agreement. The District, relying upon section 4 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act (the Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 48, par. 1704) and section 24-11 of the School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 122, par. 24-11), argued that the provision was "illegal and void" in that it related to inherent managerial policy-a matter over which the District was not required to bargain-and the transfer and assignment of teachers-a nondelegable function and managerial right. The District requested that the court declare the contested provision illegal and strike it from the parties' collective bargaining agreement.
On April 25, 1985, the Federation moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that "the parties' collective bargaining relationship and their collective bargaining agreement are governed by and subject to the provisions of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act." The Federation contended that the District was trying to avoid the contested provision in its agreement and that the circuit court was not the proper forum in which to settle the dispute in that the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The exclusive procedure for resolution of the issue, the Federation argued, required utilization of the administrative remedies provided for in the Act and, if necessary, judicial review before the appellate court of the judicial district in ...