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08/02/96 ERSKINE GRANT v. BOARD EDUCATION CITY

August 2, 1996

ERSKINE GRANT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE, AND ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND PETER FEUILLE IN HIS CAPACITY AS HEARING OFFICER FOR THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, DEFENDANTS.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE ARTHUR L. DUNNE, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Released for Publication August 29, 1996.

The Honorable Justice Gordon Delivered The Opinion OF The Court: McNULTY, P.j. and Cousins, Jr., J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon

JUSTICE GORDON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Erskine Grant, the plaintiff, appeals from the trial court's partial denial of his amended motion for enforcement of judgment. That prior judgment held that the plaintiff, a tenured teacher employed by the Chicago Board of Education (the Board), had been wrongfully discharged and ordered reinstatement with back pay and restoration of all benefits. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion to enforce judgment; and the parties agreed that the plaintiff would be reinstated and allowed to retire. The plaintiff filed an amended motion to enforce judgment when the Board refused to compensate the plaintiff upon his retirement for 260.5 accrued sick days. The trial court ordered the Board to pay the plaintiff for the 62 sick days restored to him as a result of his wrongful discharge but denied plaintiff's motion with respect to the 198.5 days he had accrued prior to his wrongful discharge. The plaintiff appeals from that portion of the judgment wherein he was denied payment of the 198.5 days of accumulated unused sick leave. *fn1

In his initial motion to enforce judgment, the plaintiff moved the court to order the Board to extend to the plaintiff the early retirement incentives created by the legislation commonly referred to as the "5 5" program. That program provided early retirement incentives whereby certain tenured teachers could retire before the age of 60 by crediting them with an extra five years of creditable service and adding an extra five years onto their ages for pension purposes. Pub. Act 88-85, ยง 50, eff. July 14, 1993 (adding 40 ILCS 5/17-116.3, 5/17-116.4). *fn2 In his initial motion to enforce judgment, the plaintiff also sought entry of a money judgment totalling $236,749.76 which included his calculations for back pay, personal leave days, holidays, insurance premiums, and summer institute compensation; restoration of 238.5 accrued sick days; and contributions to the teachers' pension fund on his behalf.

While plaintiff's motion to enforce judgment was pending, the Board and the plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement whereby the plaintiff would be reinstated as of December 22, 1993, reclassified as a reserve teacher effective January 3, 1994, and allowed to retire under the "5 5" program as a reserve teacher effective January 3, 1994. *fn3 The agreement further provided that in satisfaction of plaintiff's claims for back pay, vacation pay, summer institute pay, holiday pay, attorneys fees, interest and lost insurance benefits, the plaintiff agreed to accept the sum of $169,041.45. With respect to the restoration of the plaintiff's unused sick leave, the agreement provided:

"7. The Board and Mr. Grant agree that upon his discharge in June, 1989, Mr. Grant had accumulated 198.5 days of unused sick leave, that but for the discharge he would have accrued additional sick leave in each of the subsequent school years, and that he was or would have been entitled to three days of personal business leave each year, converted to additional accrued sick leave at the end of each school year. Accordingly, the Board and Mr. Grant agree that in satisfaction of his claims for restoration of sick leave, for additional accrued sick leave, and for additional accrued personal business days, Mr. Grant shall be credited with 260.5 days of sick leave as of January 3, 1993." *fn4

With respect to plaintiff's right to be reimbursed for those accumulated unused sick days upon his retirement pursuant to the "5 5" program, the agreement acknowledged that the Board was negotiating with the teachers' collective bargaining agent on that issue. The settlement agreement provided that the Board:

"will use its best efforts to enter into an agreement with the collective bargaining agent under which payment for accumulated but unused sick days may be paid by the Board to teachers who elect to participate in the early retirement options of P.A. 88-85 and 88-511 in installments over 5 years."

The settlement agreement further provided:

"Although Mr. Grant's retirement under this agreement shall occur prior to the finalization of the [collective bargaining] Agreement currently being negotiated ***, the Board agrees that Mr. Grant shall be treated, for sick pay purposes, as other similarly situated employees with the same number of years of service and age who retire pursuant to the acts delineated [Public Acts 88-85 and 88-511] *** and the Agreement being negotiated."

Pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement, the plaintiff resigned effective January 3, 1994. On January 12, 1994, a one-page collective bargaining agreement was entered into between the Board and the collective bargaining agent, the Chicago Teachers Union, with respect to the payment of accumulated unused sick days to persons retiring under the "5 5" program. *fn5 That agreement provided in pertinent part:

"Pursuant to the provisions of Public Act 88-511 which requires that the Board and Union 'have entered into an Agreement under which the Agent (Union) agrees that any payment for accumulated unused sick days to which the employee is entitled upon withdrawal from service may be paid by the Board of Education in installments over a period of up to five years' ...


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