Cole v. Town of Hartford School Dist., No. 195-72

Docket NºNo. 195-72
Citation131 Vt. 464, 306 A.2d 101
Case DateJune 05, 1973
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont

Page 101

306 A.2d 101
131 Vt. 464
Pauline COLE et al.
v.
TOWN OF HARTFORD SCHOOL DISTRICT and Floyd Rising, Superintendent.
No. 195-72.
Supreme Court of Vermont.
June 5, 1973.

[131 Vt. 465]

Page 102

Guarino & Bean, White River Junction, for plaintiffs.

Black & Plante, White River Junction, for defendants.

Before [131 Vt. 464] SHANGRAW, C. J., and BARNEY, SMITH, KEYSER and DALEY, JJ.

[131 Vt. 465] SMITH, Justice.

This is an appeal from a judgment of the Windsor County Court that the Board of School Directors of the Hartford School District had the authority to adopt and carry out a policy of requiring the retirement of a teacher, within its school system, at the end of the school year in which that teacher attains the age of sixty-five. The case was decided below, and comes here on an agreed statement of facts.

Plaintiffs Pauline Cole, Alice Smith and Genevieve M. Lander, in the school year 1971-72 were teachers in the Town of Hartford School District. Plaintiffs had been school teachers in said district for a period of years.

On March 8, 1971, the Hartford School Board adopted a retirement policy, which is an exhibit in the case and is found as a fact. This policy mandates retirement for teachers who attain their 65th birthday prior to September 1 of the school year, excepting in certain instances not here material. During the school year 1971-72, all three plaintiffs attained the age of 65 prior to September 1, 1972.

[131 Vt. 466] Each plaintiff was notified by the then Superintendent, Millard Harrison, that her contract was not to be renewed because of the policy. The court is asked to take judicial notice of the following statutes: 16 V.S.A. § 1937(a)(2) relating to retirement benefits, and 16 V.S.A. § 563 relating to power of a school board. Each plaintiff requested renewal of her contract after notification of the Board's decision not to renew, based on the mandatory retirement policy.

Page 103

The conclusions of law of the lower court are stated below:

'That the defendant School District, acting through its duly authorized and elected officers, has broad discretionary powers in hiring or dismissing employees, including teachers.

That under said broad powers, the defendant may make policies concerning employment as long as there is no abuse in the exercise of said powers, and as long as said policies are reasonable.

That the Vermont Statutes Annotated authorize the establishment of a teacher retirement system which provides for obtaining retirement benefits as early as the age of sixty-five if requested, and make retirement benefits mandatory at the age of seventy.

That the defendant school district acting through its duly authorized officers, absent any showing that the plaintiffs would lose retirement or teacher benefits, have not abused their discretion in promulgating a policy of retirement at age sixty-five.

That the plaintiffs herein have no guaranteed tenure as far as being employed as teachers in the defendant school system.'

The appeal of the plaintiffs to this court is based upon claimed error in the conclusions of law, stated above, and in the judgment order dismissing the action on its merits and allowing the defendants to recover of the plaintiffs their cost of action.

The broad question with which we are presented is whether or not the Board of School Directors of the Hartford School District acted within the scope of their authority in adopting the retirement policy on March 8, 1971.

[131 Vt. 467] School boards are public officials who derive their power directly from the law. Buttolph v. Osborn, 119 Vt. 116, 119, 119 A.2d 686 (1955). The powers of school boards are set out in 16 V.S.A. § 563; Subsection...

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6 practice notes
  • Davis v. GRIFFIN-SPALDING CTY., GA., BD. OF ED., Civ. A. No. C-75-6-N.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • April 15, 1976
    ...between state retirement laws and local board power have reached a similar conclusion. In Cole v. Town of Hartford School Dist., 131 Vt. 464, 306 A.2d 101 (1973), Vermont authorized benefits as early as age sixty but not beyond seventy. The court there held that the state's expressed public......
  • LaFlamme v. Essex Junction School Dist., No. 97-493.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • January 21, 2000
    ...censure as a method of discipline. In Vermont, school boards derive their power from statute. See Cole v. Town of Hartford School Dist., 131 Vt. 464, 467, 306 A.2d 101, 103 (1973). There is no statutory provision expressly vesting school boards with the authority to censure one of its membe......
  • State v. Shaw, No. 86-033
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • December 11, 1987
    ...a case where the probative value of the evidence is so slight as to require exclusion as a matter of law. See Bradley, 131 Vt. at 371, 306 A.2d at 101. The evidence was probative of the fact of the occurrence of the sexual assault. See Simmons v. State, 504 N.E.2d 575, 581 (Ind.1987) (testi......
  • DeShon v. Bettendorf Community School Dist., No. 63170
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 17, 1979
    ...import by other courts when evaluating the validity of school district retirement policies. See Cole v. Town of Hartford School Dist., 131 Vt. 464, 468-69, 306 A.2d 101, 104 (1973); Abshire v. School Dist. No. 1, 124 Mont. 244, 245-46, 220 P.2d 1058, 1060 We hold that the mandatory retireme......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Davis v. GRIFFIN-SPALDING CTY., GA., BD. OF ED., Civ. A. No. C-75-6-N.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • April 15, 1976
    ...between state retirement laws and local board power have reached a similar conclusion. In Cole v. Town of Hartford School Dist., 131 Vt. 464, 306 A.2d 101 (1973), Vermont authorized benefits as early as age sixty but not beyond seventy. The court there held that the state's expressed public......
  • LaFlamme v. Essex Junction School Dist., No. 97-493.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • January 21, 2000
    ...censure as a method of discipline. In Vermont, school boards derive their power from statute. See Cole v. Town of Hartford School Dist., 131 Vt. 464, 467, 306 A.2d 101, 103 (1973). There is no statutory provision expressly vesting school boards with the authority to censure one of its membe......
  • State v. Shaw, No. 86-033
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • December 11, 1987
    ...a case where the probative value of the evidence is so slight as to require exclusion as a matter of law. See Bradley, 131 Vt. at 371, 306 A.2d at 101. The evidence was probative of the fact of the occurrence of the sexual assault. See Simmons v. State, 504 N.E.2d 575, 581 (Ind.1987) (testi......
  • DeShon v. Bettendorf Community School Dist., No. 63170
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 17, 1979
    ...import by other courts when evaluating the validity of school district retirement policies. See Cole v. Town of Hartford School Dist., 131 Vt. 464, 468-69, 306 A.2d 101, 104 (1973); Abshire v. School Dist. No. 1, 124 Mont. 244, 245-46, 220 P.2d 1058, 1060 We hold that the mandatory retireme......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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