APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIRST DIVISION
527 N.E.2d 510, 173 Ill. App. 3d 276, 123 Ill. Dec. 47 1988.IL.1140
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Richard L. Curry, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the court. BUCKLEY and QUINLAN, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE O'CONNOR
This is an appeal from an order of the circuit court reversing a decision of the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (the Board) that reduced the salaries of two principals.
Defendants' contentions on appeal can be summarized as follows: (1) plaintiffs were afforded procedurally correct hearings under the relevant statute; (2) plaintiffs were not entitled under the statute to contest the sufficiency of the reasons for their downward reclassification; and (3) the trial court erred in determining that the board of education did not discuss with the plaintiffs the reasons for their transfers from permanent to interim assignments. We affirm the decision of the circuit court reversing the decision of the board of education.
Plaintiffs William F. Kelly (Kelly) and Harvey T. Courtney (Courtney) are tenured principals in the Chicago public schools. Kelly became a principal in 1961. At the time he was transferred in 1979, Kelly was the principal at a grade IV school and was classified and paid at administrative grade IV, step 5. Subsequent to the 1979 transfer, Kelly was assigned to various grade III schools and was an interim principal at a grade III school at the time of the Board action that is at issue here. He continued to be paid at administrative grade IV, step 5.
Courtney had been a principal in the Chicago public schools for 10 years at the time the Board acted to reduce his salary. In 1976, Courtney was assigned as principal of the McLaren Occupational High School (McLaren). In 1978, McLaren was combined with the McKinley School and Courtney continued to serve as principal. He was classified and paid at administrative grade V, step 6. Beginning in 1981, Courtney was transferred to various grade III schools as an interim principal. The Board continued to pay Courtney at administrative grade V, step 6.
At the time plaintiffs were first transferred from their regularly appointed positions, the practice of the Board was not to reduce the salary of principals transferred from permanent to interim positions but to continue to pay them at the grade of the school to which they were last regularly appointed. Because the transfers to lower positions did not affect their salaries, the Board was not required to comply with section 34-85 of the Illinois School Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 122, par. 34-85), which requires the Board to give reasons for any transfer to a position for which a lower salary is paid.
In 1984, the Board adopted an amendment to its "Administrative Compensation Plan" (the Plan) by adding section XII. Section XII provides in pertinent part:
"C. Tenured Principals Currently Serving in Interim Assignments
The salaries of those principals currently serving in interim assignments shall be retained in the same Administrative Grade in which the principal was paid in his last regularly appointed position through the close of the day of November 23, 1984.
Effective November 26, 1984, the salary of each principal shall be reduced to the maximum salary provided for positions assigned to Administrative Grade III, unless decided to the contrary by the Board of Education because of extenuating circumstances. This reduction in Administrative Grade and salary shall be implemented in conformity with Section 34 -- 85 of the Illinois School Code and notice of ...