Wilkerson v Jackson Public Schools – 5.13

Wilkerson v Jackson Public Schools
Digest no. 5.13

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Wilkerson v Jackson Pub Schools, 170 Mich App 133 (1988); lv den 432 Mich 878 (1989).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Susan A. Wilkerson, et al.
Employer: Jackson Public Schools
Docket no.: B83 18600 96681
Date of decision: May 6, 1988

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The summer breaks for this program for the years at issue were not periods between successive academic years or established and customary vacation periods. As such the provisions of 27(i) were not applicable.

FACTS: The claimants were teachers and aides in the Adult Basic Education program. Students may enroll at any time during the year. Some students complete the program in several class sessions, others take years. Advancement depends on the individual’s progress. Prior to 1982 this program operated year-round with only a two week break in the summer. In 1982 this break was expanded to 4 weeks. In 1983 the break increased to 10 weeks. In the 1983-84 school year the program’s summer instruction was eliminated and the program was to operate on the same schedule as the K-12 school program.

DECISION: Claimants are not ineligible under school denial period of Section 27(i).

RATIONALE: “The length of the ABE instructional periods is determined by budgetary constraints rather than by the length of time needed to complete the requirements of a particular grade or course. Students do not, as a matter of plan, complete any particular grade or course within any specified time period and they re-enter the program after each break at the same instructional level as when class sessions ended. See Bonnette, 165 Mich App at 472-473. We believe that, as a matter of law, the break periods in the ABE program cannot be classified as periods between two successive academic years…. We also conclude that the summer breaks between 1982 and 1984 cannot be considered established and customary vacation periods…. The summer break schedule changed each year during the three-year transition, making the length of the break too unpredictable to be considered established and customary. We agree with the trial court that the legislative purpose of MESA was to protect workers from the ‘economic crunch’ caused by unexpected periods of unemployment such as those created by the school district in this case.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
11/90

Bonnette v West Ottawa Schools – 5.10

Bonnette v West Ottawa Schools
Digest no. 5.10

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Bonnette v West Ottawa Schools, 165 Mich App 460 (1987); lv den 430 Mich 870 (1988).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Julie Bonnette, et al.
Employer: West Ottawa Public School
Docket no.: B84 01754 96313
Date of decision: August 27, 1987

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: “Down time” in a school system’s migrant education program does not qualify as a denial period for purposes of Section 27(i) of the Act where the beginning and end of the down time were not fixed in advance, but rather depended on the growing season for crops .

FACTS: Claimants were employed in a special migrant teaching program operated by employer. The program operated during two segments of the employers academic year. The first part ran from September through October, and the second from March through June.

DECISION: Claimants are not subject to the denial period provisions of Section 27(i) of the Act.

RATIONALE: “In the instant case, the period in question, i.e. the period between the fall and spring segments of the migrant program, while a predictable layoff period because of the history of the program, was not a recess period similar to the recess periods taken for summer vacation for recognized holidays. Rather, the period of unemployment was due to the lack of work resulting from a decrease in the student population. If the migrant population had unexpectedly stayed, West Ottawa would no doubt have continued the employment of Bonnette, Quintalla, and Romos in the program. Thus, we find that even though the period of layoff could be anticipated (since the decrease in the student population could be anticipated) it was not a period established as a customary ‘vacation period’ or holiday recess”.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
11/90

Rogel v Taylor School District – 5.14

Rogel v Taylor School District
Digest no. 5.14

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Rogel v Taylor School Dist, 152 Mich App 418 (1986).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ann Rogel, et al.
Employer: Taylor School District
Docket no.: B81 88405 87051
Date of decision: June 16, 1986

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: The employer cannot unilaterally alter the definition of the academic year set by the terms of a collective bargaining agreement merely for budgeting reasons.

FACTS: Claimants’ union and the employer negotiated a collective bargaining agreement requiring the school year to commence on September 1, 1981. Because of financial problems created by millage defeats, employer postponed the start of the school year until September 28, 1981. The employer continued the school year through June 1982 for a period equal to the time lost at the beginning of the year.

DECISION: Claimants entitled to benefits pursuant to Section 27(i)(1) and (4) when the employer unilaterally delays the start of the academic year for budgetary considerations.

RATIONALE: “Seizing on the phrase ‘as defined by the educational institution,’ the school district now argues that the 1981-1982 school year should be defined under Section 27(i)(4) as beginning on September 28. Acceptance of that argument would mean that a school district could unilaterally change the beginning and ending dates of the school year at any time without its employees being able to collect unemployment benefits. Such an interpretation would defeat the purpose of the MESA, which was intended to soften the economic burden of those who through no fault of their own, find themselves unemployed. See General Motors Corp. v Erves (On Rehearing), 399 Mich 241, 252; 249 NW2d 41 (1976); MCL 421.2; MSA 17.502. The school year was defined by contract as beginning September 1. When claimants did not start work on September 1, their period of unemployment began not in a ‘period between successive academic years,’ but rather during an academic year. The denial period did not apply.”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
11/90

Gillette v Jackson Public Schools – 5.08

Gillette v Jackson Public Schools
Digest no. 5.08

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Gillette v Jackson Pub Schools, unpublished opinion of the Jackson County Circuit Court, issued July 14, 1980 (Docket No. 79 017594).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Kathleen A. Gillette, et al.
Employer: Jackson Public Schools
Docket no.: B76 19061 54930
Date of decision: July 14, 1980

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Where Labor Day is the first day of a school district’s academic year, the week of the holiday is a compensable week.

FACTS: These appeals involved 10 teachers and a school bus driver.

“Claimant’s applications for Unemployment benefits for the week containing Labor Day were denied by the Michigan Unemployment Security Commission under Section 27(i)(2) and (4) of the Michigan Employment Security Act (MSA 17.529)(i)(2) and (4).”

DECISION: The week ending September 11, 1976 is a compensable week for the claimants.

RATIONALE: “Appellees base their position on Section 50(a) of the Act (MSA 17.554(a)) which provides: ‘Week’ means calendar week, ending at midnight Saturday … ‘”

“And Appellees argue that pursuant to Section 50(a) and then existing commission procedures, compensable weeks for unemployment benefits ran from Sunday through Saturday and if an individual was disqualified for one day of the week, he was disqualified for the entire week.”

“Appellees’ narrow interpretation of the Statute does not carry out the Declaration of Policy of the Act … ”

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
11/90