On appeal from the Supreme Court, whose opinion is reported in 135 N.J.L. 329.
For the prosecutors-appellants, Gurtman & Schomer (William N. Gurtman).
For the defendant-respondent Board of Education of the City of Passaic, Riskin & Riskin (Philip W. Riskin).
For the defendants-respondents John H. Bosshart, Commissioner of Education and State Board of Education, no appearance.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
SCHETTINO, J. This is an appeal from a judgment in the Supreme Court dismissing a writ of certiorari on the merits.
The Board of Education of the City of Passaic determined to discontinue the operation of one of its schools. From that determination appellants herein appealed to the State Commissioner of Education who, after a hearing, affirmed the action of the local board. A further appeal was prosecuted to the State Board of Education which affirmed the action of the State Commissioner of Education.
The writ of certiorari was thereupon allowed. We agree with the Supreme Court that the local board of education "had jurisdiction, in its discretion and of its own motion, to discontinue one of the public schools of that city." Boult v. Board of Education of Passaic (Supreme Court, 1947), 135 N.J.L. 329, 330.
Appellants contend that the Commissioner of Education erred in rejecting an offer of proof in support of an allegation that the local board's action constituted an unreasonable exercise of and an abuse of discretion. The state of case does not contain a transcript of the hearing. In the opinion of the Commissioner of Education appears the following:
"Counsel for petitioners stated that the petitioners did not charge dishonesty, fraud, or illegality on the part of the board, but intended to present composite testimony to establish that the Board of Education had exercised its discretion unreasonably and had been guilty of an abuse of discretion. When the Assistant Commissioner asked what showing of unreasonable exercise of discretion the petitioners would make, counsel replied that they would show that the board's action to close the school was the result of an erroneous conclusion based upon incorrect information and that all the estimated savings and other advantages claimed in the recommendations had not been accomplished."
The offer was rejected by the Commissioner.
"The commissioner shall decide without cost to the parties all controversies and disputes arising ...