Abshire v. School Dist. No. 1 of Silver Bow County, 8985

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana
Citation220 P.2d 1058,124 Mont. 244
Docket NumberNo. 8985,8985
Decision Date22 July 1950

Wellington D. Rankin, of Helena, William B. Freebourn, and Lewis F. Rotering, both of Butte, for appellants.

Arnold H. Olsen, Atty. Gen., Louis E. Poppler, Asst. Atty. Gen., James D. Freebourn, County Atty., J. Frank Sullivan, Deputy County Atty., both of Butte, for respondents.

ADAIR, Chief Justice.

The Teachers' Retirement Act enacted by the 1937 legislative assembly (Ch. 87, Laws of 1937, pp. 215-241) as amended by Chapter 137, Laws of 1945, pp. 253-268, established a retirement system for the public school teachers of the state of Montana and declares the law governing the age for retirement.

Permissive Retirement at 60. The Act permits any member of the system who shall have attained the age of sixty and who has completed fifteen years of creditable service, the last ten years where of shall have been in Montana, to voluntarily retire. The language employed is purely permissive. The law says such teacher 'may retire.' R.C.M.1947, § 75-2707.

Compulsory Retirement at 70. The Act further declares that any member of the system who has attained the age of seventy years, during any school year 'shall be retired' on the first day of September following his or her seventieth birthday. The language of this provision is mandatory. It compels the retirement of such teacher as of September first following the seventieth anniversary of his or her birth. R.C.M.1947, § 75-2707.

Public Policy. Thus did the law-making power of the state speak on the subject of the retirement of public school teachers so far as concerns age.

Such legislative utterance constitutes the declared public policy of the state upon the particular subject. State ex rel. McCarten v. Corwin, 119 Mont. 520, 529, 530, 177 P.2d 189, 194, and authorities there cited.

Involuntary Retirement at 65. March 31, 1949, the board of trustees of school district No. 1 of Silver Bow county, Montana, adopted a motion to the effect 'that every teacher now regularly employed in the school system be given one more year, and next year it become mandatory that all teachers arriving at the age of sixty-five retire from the school system.'

March 13, 1950, the board of trustees passed a motion directing its clerk to notify the teachers in the district who had reached the age of sixty-five that their services would not be required for the ensuing school year pursuant to which motion each of the plaintiff teachers on March 22, 1950, received individual written notice that her services would not be required by such school district after May 26, 1950, and that the notice was given in compliance with the action so taken by the board at its meeting of March 31, 1949.

On plaintiffs' timely request therefor, the board on notice given, held a hearing for the purpose of reconsidering its action, following which it affirmed its former action and demanded the involuntary retirement based solely on the fact that prior to March 13, 1950, each plaintiff had attained the age of sixty-five years.

Each plaintiff now is and for over ten years past has been a resident of the city of Butte, Montana, and duly licensed to teach in the public schools of the state. Each plaintiff, other than Johanna Prendergast, holds a duly and regularly issued Life Teacher's Certificate from the state authorizing her to teach the designated grades in any school in the state and the plaintiff Prendergast holds a Professional Teacher's Certificate granting her like authority, valid until 1953. During all the school terms for over ten years past each plaintiff has been and now is engaged in teaching in the public schools of said district No. 1 under contract of employment entered into with the board of trustees each having been elected to such teaching position prior to the year 1930 and having thereafter been duly re-elected annually and having received and holding an individual contract for each succeeding and consecutive year.

The teaching position of each plaintiff in the schools of the district will continue to exist for the ensuing year requiring the services of plaintiffs or of other teachers to fill and it is the intent of the board of trustees to fill each position by replacement of plaintiffs with other teachers. No plaintiff has attained the age of seventy.

The board of trustees, declining to rescind its action, the plaintiffs, being adversely affected thereby, brought this action against school district No. 1 of Silver Bow county in the district court of such county seeking a declaration of their rights as...

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11 cases
  • Stephan v. State Veterinary Medical Bd.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Ohio)
    • June 27, 1960
    ...ex rel. Rowe v. Emmanuel, 142 Neb. 583, 7 N.W.2d 156; Carpenter v. Smith, 79 R.I. 326, 89 A.2d 168; Abshire v. School District No. 1 of Silver Bow County, Mont., 124 Mont. 244, 220 P.2d 1058; Munroe v. Sullivan Min. Co., 69 Idaho 348, 207 P.2d 547, 81 N.E.2d 409; In re Buchanan's Estate, 82......
  • Benson v. School Dist. No. 1 of Silver Bow County, 1
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • June 29, 1959
    ...... Abshire v. School District No. 1, 124 Mont. 244, 220 P.2d 1058. As pointed out in the opinion of Mr. Justice ANGSTMAN, school boards have not been given ......
  • Investigative Records of City of Columbus Police Dept., Matter of, 93-487
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • June 27, 1994
    ...128 Mont. 1, 9-10, 270 P.2d 404, 409. In contrast, "shall" is understood to be compelling or mandatory. See Abshire v. School Dist. (1950), 124 Mont. 244, 245, 220 P.2d 1058, 1059. Gaustad's argument that § 2-3-221, MCA, requires the District Court to award attorney's fees is premised on th......
  • School Dist. No. 12, Phillips County v. Hughes, 13078
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • July 21, 1976
    ...have always been held subject to legislative control. Woolsey v. Carney, 141 Mont. 476, 378 P.2d 658 (1963); Abshire v. School District, 124 Mont. 244, 220 P.2d 1058 (1950); Wyatt v. School District No. 104, 148 Mont. 83, 417 P.2d 221, 22 A.L.R.3d 1039 (1966); Teamsters, etc., Local No. 45 ......
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