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04/01/76 DETROIT FEDERATION TEACHERS v. DETROIT

April 1, 1976

DETROIT FEDERATION OF TEACHERS
v.
DETROIT BOARD OF EDUCATION



Levin, J. Kavanagh, C. J., and Coleman and Fitzgerald, JJ., concurred with Levin, J. Lindemer and Ryan, JJ., took no part in the decision of this case. Williams, J. (concurring in part, Dissenting in part).

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Opinion of the Court

1. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Contracts -- Statutes.

The provision of the School Code of 1955 that teachers' contracts shall be in writing is mandatory and a school board is required to enter into a written individual contract evidencing the employment relationship with each "duly qualified" teacher in its employ; however, the code does not impose a legal duty on the board to offer a teacher a particular kind of contract, and the kind of contract is to be determined by agreement of the parties (MCL 340.569).

2. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers -- Contracts -- Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The School Code contemplates that the kind of contract each teacher receives from the school board is to be decided by agreement of the parties; where a collective bargaining spells out the terms and conditions of employment and governs the possible kinds of contracts the teachers may receive, the issue whether certain teachers are entitled to probationary contracts depends on the agreement of the parties.

3. Labor Relations -- Collective Bargaining Agreements -- Disputes -- Grievance Procedure -- Teachers -- Contracts.

Whether certain teachers were entitled to receive probationary contracts from their school board pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between the board and the teachers' union was a matter to be resolved either between the parties or through the grievance procedure in the agreement and not by a court, where the collective bargaining agreement provided that contract disputes, including those concerning the interpretation of the agreement, were to be resolved through the grievance procedure, which culminated in binding arbitration.

Opinion Concurring in Part and Dissenting in Part

Williams, J.

See headnote 1.

4. Labor Relations -- Collective Bargaining Agreements -- Teachers -- Contracts.

Certain teachers who meet the requirements for a probationary teacher and who carry the responsibility associated with a probationary teacher are entitled to receive probationary contracts from their school board pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between the board and the teachers' union and this right may properly be enforced by the courts although the contract also provides for a grievance procedure supplementary to remedies afforded by law.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Levin

The Detroit Federation of Teachers instituted a class-action proceeding for mandamus against the Detroit Board of Education alleging that the board's practice of classifying certified teachers as emergency substitutes in regular positions (ESRPs) rather than probationary contract teachers was in direct violation of the School Code of 1955, MCLA 340.569; MSA 15.3569, and worked hardships on the teachers so classified. The Wayne Circuit Court, Horace W. Gilmore, J., issued an order of mandamus directing the board to give its own probationary contracts to those qualified teachers who were filling regular teaching positions on January 15, 1973. The Court of Appeals, Lesinski, C. J., and R. B. Burns and Quinn, JJ., affirmed (Docket No. 16243). Plaintiffs appeal. Held:

1. The statute, MCLA 340.569; MSA 15.3569, is mandatory, and the school board is required to enter into a written individual contract evidencing the employment relationship with each "duly qualified" teacher in its employ.

2. The statute does not impose a legal duty on the board to offer a teacher a particular kind of contract; the kind of contract is to be determined by agreement of the parties.

3. The collective bargaining agreement between the board and the union states the terms and conditions of teacher employment and provides a procedure for resolving disputes arising under the agreement; this is such a dispute. Whether particular "ESRPs" were certified and filling regular positions, and, if so, whether they were entitled to probationary contracts should be resolved either by the parties themselves or through the grievance procedure.

4. The circuit court erred in issuing an order of mandamus directing the kind of contract particular teachers would receive. The case is remanded to the circuit court for entry of a declaration of rights that each "duly qualified" teacher in the board's employ is entitled to a written individual contract evidencing the employment relationship, and for further proceedings if necessary.

Justice Williams, Concurring in part and Dissenting in part, agreed that the teachers have a right to written contracts, but would hold that all teachers who meet the requirements for a probationary teacher and who carry the responsibility associated with a probationary teacher have a right to a probationary contract, and that their rights may be established by the trial court.

50 Mich App 660; 213 NW2d 839 (1973) reversed.

Section 569 of the School Code provides that "he board of every district shall hire and contract with such duly qualified teachers as may be required. All contracts with teachers shall be in writing * * *". *fn1

For a number of years preceding 1972, the Detroit Board of Education employed tenured and probationary teachers, who worked with written, individual contracts, and substitute teachers, including emergency substitutes in regular positions (ESRPs), who worked without written, individual contracts.

In February, 1972, the board adopted a resolution which provided that all new teaching positions would be filled by ESRPs. *fn2 No probationary appointments were made during the 1972-73 school year.

This class action was commenced by the union in January, 1973 in behalf of teachers working without a written, individual contract.

The parties agree that under § 569 of the School Code "duly qualified" teachers are entitled to written, individual contracts evidencing the employment relationship. They do not agree on the kind of contract particular teachers were entitled to receive or what is the appropriate forum and procedure for resolution of disputes concerning the contract a particular teacher should receive.

The union contends that all teachers in regular teaching positions who are not on "continuing" (tenure) contracts are entitled to "probationary" contracts and that the circuit court should decide whether a particular teacher, although called an "ESRP", is so entitled.

The board contends that the kind of contract a teacher receives should be determined by agreement of the parties and, if they cannot agree, the dispute should be resolved through the grievance arbitration ...


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