On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Special Civil Part, Hunterdon County.
Michels, Gruccio and D'Annunzio. The opinion of the court was delivered by Michels, P.J.A.D.
Plaintiff The Princeton Montessori Society, Inc. appeals from a judgment of the Law Division, Special Civil Part that dismissed its complaint for the balance due under its tuition contract and awarded defendant Alan Leff $5,000 on his counterclaim in this breach of contract action.
Plaintiff is licensed by the State of New Jersey to operate a private school. In the Spring of 1989, plaintiff began its application process for the 1989-90 school year. On or about April 1, 1989, defendant enrolled his daughter, Fay, in plaintiff's school and signed a "Junior Contract." In accordance with the terms of the contract, plaintiff agreed to accept defendant's daughter as a student for the period beginning September 1989 and ending May 1990, and defendant agreed to pay tuition fees of $6500 for the full contracted year, development fees of $750 and a junior activities fee of $150. The contract also provided that no tuition would be refunded if a student withdrew or the school dismissed the student at any time throughout the school year. The contract, which contained a tuition payment schedule, in pertinent part, provided:
The undersigned parent or guardian (the "Parent") of the student agrees to pay tuition fees of $6500 for the full contracted year. As a convenience to the undersigned, the tuition may be paid as follows:
Payment I May 1, 1989 $1200
Payment II July 1, 1989 $1200
Junior Activities Fee July 1, 1989 $150
Payment III August 15, 1989 $1200
Payment IV November 1, 1989 $1200
Payment V February 1, 1990 $1200
Payment VI March 1, 1990 $N/A
Due with return of contract:
Non-refundable Contract Deposit ...