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American Fidelity and Casualty Co. v. State Board of Education

Decided: February 27, 1941.

AMERICAN FIDELITY AND CASUALTY COMPANY, PROSECUTOR,
v.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION ET AL., DEFENDANTS



On writ of certiorari.

For the prosecutor, Charles A. Rooney.

For the defendants, no appearance.

Before Justices Case, Donges and Heher.

Donges

The opinion of the court was delivered by

DONGES, J. This certiorari brings up for review a decision of the State Board of Education, dated April 13th, 1940, on appeal by prosecutor to that board, remanding the record to the Commissioner of Education with instructions to dismiss prosecutor's complaint. There is no appearance for any of the defendants.

One Thomas A. Romano entered into a pupil transportation contract with the Board of Education of the Township of Bridgewater, in the County of Somerset, to run from July 1st, 1938, to June 30th, 1939, and deposited with said board a policy of liability insurance issued by prosecutor. No question was then raised as to the acceptance thereof. On May 8th, 1939, and prior to the expiration of said transportation contract, the board of education passed a resolution that

"the bus contractors take their insurance policy with a company having an A plus rating with the Best Insurance Guide and the limits are to be $10,000 and $40,000 instead of $5,000 and $40,000."

The record discloses that, on or about June 10th, 1939, Romano and the Board of Education entered into an agreement extending the 1938 contract for the school year beginning July 1st, 1939. This agreement contained this provision: "Insurance to be carried with a company having an 'A plus' rating according to Best's Insurance Guide." Romano filed a policy of liability insurance of prosecutor in the amount required by the resolution and extension agreement, and, by letter, dated June 29th, 1939, was advised that the policy was being returned to him because prosecutor's rating in Best's Insurance Guide was B plus and requesting that a policy be furnished of an insurer with an A or A plus rating in said Guide. The record does not discover the subsequent steps, if any, of Romano to comply with the board's requirement. Nor does he appear to have protested or appealed the board's action.

Prosecutor thereupon appealed to the Commissioner of Education to have the board's resolution set aside and an order requiring the board to accept its policy of insurance. The commissioner dismissed the petition of appeal upon the ground that prosecutor was "without legal status to prosecute its alleged grievance before" him. On appeal, the State Board held the prosecutor had a status to prosecute its appeal before the commissioner and that there was such a controversy as invoked the jurisdiction of the commissioner and of the State Board.

We do not deem it necessary to pass upon this question, but will consider the merits of the case.

The State Board properly held that R.S. 18:6-19, which empowers district boards to adopt rules and regulations "not inconsistent with the rules and regulations of the State Board," did not prevent local boards from requiring more in the way of security than was imposed by the State Board regulation. Transportation rule 16 of ...


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