Kentwood Schools v Marks – 5.22

Kentwood Schools v Marks
Digest no. 5.22

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Kentwood Schools v Marks, unpublished opinion of the Kent Circuit Court, issued April 7, 2000 (Docket No. 99-02921-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Esther D. Marks
Employer: Kentwood Schools
Date of decision: April 7, 2000

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Under Section 27(i)(1), whether the terms and conditions of claimant’s employment are similar to previous work for the employer, is irrelevant to the issue of eligibility when a claimant has a contract in fact for the following school year.

FACTS: Claimant had been a paraprofessional reading instructor. Employer laid claimant off due to budget and personnel cutbacks. Claimant was able to bid on different positions, with equivalent pay, conditions and benefits. Given her seniority claimant was assured work in one of those positions if she wanted it. Instead claimant chose a non-instructional position with a significant decrease in hours and benefits. Claimant had a contract for employment for the following school year.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits under Section 27(i).

RATIONALE: “Even where there exists a reasonable assurance of continued employment, benefits may not be denied unless the terms and conditions of such employment are reasonably similar to those of the previous year.” Paynes v Detroit Board of Education, 150 Mich App 358 (1986). But, the existence of a contract negates any requirement for such similar terms and conditions. Paynes, supra, at 372, 373 and 378.

As the claimant had a contract for the following school term, the terms and conditions of claimant’s new employment were irrelevant on the issue of eligibility. The benefit ineligibility provisions of Section 27(i)(1) apply where there is 1) an actual contract or work, or, 2) reasonable assurance of work under similar terms and conditions in an instructional, research or principal administrative capacity.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated:
11/04

Thompson v Chippewa Valley School District – 5.18

Thompson v Chippewa Valley School District
Digest no. 5.18

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Thompson v Chippewa Valley School Dist, unpublished opinion of the Macomb Circuit Court, issued August 28, 1997 (Docket No. 96-7631-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Frances A. Thompson
Employer: Chippewa Valley School District
Docket no.: B93-15538-131205
Date of decision: August 28, 1997

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A claimant is ineligible under Section 27(i) where she has received reasonable assurance of re-employment, despite the fact the assigned employment included a 7% pay reduction.

FACTS: After a millage failure it was anticipated that bus drivers could expect a reduction of one hour to an hour and a half per day in the following year. Thereafter, the school system gave the claimant and other drivers a letter of assurance which indicated the employer believed it would re-employ them in positions similar to what they had in the prior academic year. Claimant asserted she would be experiencing a substantial reduction in hours. But claimant’s hourly earnings were raised from $13.38 to $14.32. The net reduction would be 7%, from $501 to $465 weekly. There was no adverse impact on her fringe benefits.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible under the school denial provisions of Section 27(i).

RATIONALE: Denial of benefits to a school district employee is authorized under Section 27(9) if she was reasonably assured of re-employment and the economic terms and conditions of employment in the new year were reasonably similar to those of the preceding year.

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99

Paynes v Detroit Board of Education – 5.11

Paynes v Detroit Board of Education
Digest no. 5.11

Section 27(i)

Cite as: Paynes v Detroit Board of Ed, 150 Mich App 358 (1986).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Linda Paynes & Valerie Whalen
Employer: Detroit Board of Education & School Dist-City of Detroit
Docket no.: B82 18913 86673 & B81 22828 81799
Date of decision: April 7, 1986

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COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: “Thus, we hold that to be denied unemployment benefits pursuant to MCL 421.27(i)(1)(a); MSA 17.529(i)(1)(a), the school denial period provision, a teacher must be (1) reasonably assured of reemployment the following year in an instructional, research or principal administrative capacity, and (2) the economic terms and conditions of the employment for the following year must be reasonably similar to those in the preceding year.”

FACTS: During the 81-82 school year claimants Whalen and Paynes were both Regular Contract Teachers. Due to economic conditions both were notified they would not be regular teachers the following year. However, applications were provided for regular emergency substitute teacher (RES) positions. An RES is guaranteed employment every day school is open, however, the benefits and wages are substantially less than for contract teachers.

DECISION: Claimant Paynes did not receive reasonable assurance and is not subject to the school denial period. Remanded for additional fact-finding regarding claimant Whalen.

RATIONALE: The court specifically declined to incorporate the “suitability” criteria contained in Section 29(6) and (7) of the MES Act into the school denial provision of Section 27(i). However, the court said, “We agree with the MESC that wage disparity should be considered before denying a teacher unemployment benefits when a contract or reasonable assurance of employment in a instructional, research or principal administrative capacity is proffered for the successive academic year. We also agree … that, for purposes of the school denial period provision, an offer or reasonable assurance to an employee previously employed in either an instructional, research or principal administrative capacity of reemployment for the following academic year in any of these three capacities is adequate with respect to the type of employment. Employment in any of these capacities is legislatively-deemed to be appropriate with respect to the type of proffered employment.”

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