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Porcelli v. Titus

Decided: November 7, 1969.

VICTOR PORCELLI (AND NINE OTHERS), PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
FRANKLYN TITUS, SUPERINTENDENT, AND THE NEWARK BOARD OF EDUCATION, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS



Goldmann, Lewis and Matthews. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lewis, J.A.D.

Lewis

Plaintiffs, ten members of the teaching staff of the Newark Board of Education (herein Newark Board), appeal pursuant to R.R. 4:88-8 (now R. 2:2-3(a)) from a final determination of the New Jersey State Board of Education (herein State Board). The latter affirmed a decision of the Commissioner of Education which held that the action of the Newark Board, in suspending its promotional procedure and its eligibility lists and in instituting a new policy for promotions, was a lawful exercise of discretionary authority.

Plaintiffs here urge that the Newark Board (1) is bound by the terms of an outstanding employment agreement with the Newark Teachers' Association (herein NTA), the exclusive bargaining agent for all teachers in the Newark

school district, and (2) may not lawfully disregard or modify by unilateral action the terms of that agreement.

The Teachers' contract under review, dated June 19, 1967, covers the period from February 1, 1967 to February 1, 1970 and provides in pertinent part:

Article X PROMOTIONS

A. The positions of principal, vice principal, * * * shall be filled in order of numerical ranking from the appropriate list, which ranking shall be determined by written and oral examinations. * * *

Article XXII GENERAL

F. The Board hereby amends its rules and regulations to the extent necessary to give effect to the provisions of this Agreement.

Article XXIV MUTUALITY OF OBLIGATION

The Board and the Association will make every good faith effort to carry out the spirit as well as the letter of this Agreement, subject to law. * * *

Subsequently, on June 30, 1967, Newark Board adopted an amendment to its Rules and Regulations, section 505.4 thereof, to conform to Article X of the agreement and to provide specifically that "all promotional lists shall expire after four years."

On May 28, 1968, after a public hearing, the Newark Board passed a resolution suspending the making of any appointments to the positions of principal or vice-principal from promotional lists "pending an evaluation by the Board of Education of the present procedure for making such appointments, effective after October 1, 1968." Thereafter no appointments for the positions of principal or vice-principal were made from promotional lists.

On August 22, 1968 defendant Franklyn Titus, Superintendent of Schools of the City of Newark (herein superintendent), proposed to the Newark Board that written examinations and numerical listings according to any test scorings be abolished and replaced by a general pool ...


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