Appeal from Oakland, James S. Thorburn, J.
Bashara, P. J., and N. J. Kaufman, and D. F. Walsh, JJ.
1. Schools and School Districts -- Teachers' Tenure Act -- Statutes -- Powers -- Public Meetings -- Notice.
Boards of education possess only those powers expressly or impliedly granted by statute and must exercise their powers at public meetings lawfully called and held unless otherwise authorized by statute (MCLA 38.71 et seq., 15.251 et seq.; MSA 15.1971 et seq., 4.1800 et seq.).
2. Schools and School Districts -- Statutes -- Teachers -- Dismissal or Demotion -- Public Disclosure -- Appeal -- Precedence of Statutes.
Hearings on the dismissal or demotion of a teacher may, by statute, be public or private, at the election of the teacher, and where a teacher elects a private hearing the board's decision to dismiss or demote may not be disclosed publicly until the teacher has exhausted the appellate processes; the statute permitting a board of education to render a private decision in such a case must be given precedence over the general statute requiring such boards to officially act at public meetings (MCLA 38.104, 340.561; MSA 15.2004, 15.3561).
3. Statutes -- Ambiguities -- Judicial Construction -- Legislative Purpose -- Object of Statute.
A statute which is ambiguous or susceptible to two or more interpretations is open to judicial construction and should be reasonably construed in light of the legislative purpose of the statute and the object sought to be accomplished.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bashara
Petition by Sidney Schulman before the Teacher Tenure Commission seeking reinstatement of employment as a tenured teacher in the Royal Oak School District and back pay for wrongful dismissal. Reinstatement and back pay ordered. The school district petitioned for review to the circuit court. Reversed and remanded for determination of the reasonableness of the dismissal. Petitioner Schulman appeals by leave granted.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Oakland County Circuit Court reversing a decision of the Michigan Teachers' Tenure Commission. The commission had reinstated the previously discharged appellant.
Appellant has been a tenured teacher in the appellee school district since 1960. On April 19, 1973, pursuant to the Michigan teacher's tenure act, MCLA 38.71 et seq.; MSA 15.1971 et seq., the principal at the school where appellant was employed filed charges with the appellee. The charges alleged unsatisfactory performance of professional services by the appellant. The appellee voted to proceed upon the allegations against the appellant.
The appellant requested a private hearing before the Royal Oak Board of Education. The hearing commenced on June 5, 1973, and continued periodically with the taking of testimony and exhibits. The board of education concluded the evidence gathering portion of the hearing on August 9, 1973. The board reached a decision on August 22, 1973, to dismiss the appellant. A copy of the decision was timely served upon the appellant.
The appellant filed a petition appealing his discharge to the tenure commission assigning as error, (1) the failure of the board of education to render its decision at a publicly noticed meeting, and (2) the dismissal was without reasonable and just cause. The tenure commission ruled the appellant was improperly dismissed because the meeting did not ...