A-12514, JUNE 14, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 977

A-12514: Jun 14, 1926

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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - SCHOOL TEACHERS TEACHERS IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHO WERE IN CLASSES 3. WERE ENTITLED TO ASSIGNMENT ON JULY 1. EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT THEN ACTUALLY IN CLASS 6. THE QUESTION OF WHICH DECISION WAS PREVIOUSLY REQUESTED WAS STATED IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 30. THE ANSWER IN THE DECISION WAS AS FOLLOWS: IF THE TEACHERS REFERRED TO IN THIS SUBMISSION WERE TEACHERS IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS IN CLASSES 3. THEY WERE ENTITLED TO ASSIGNMENT ON JULY 1. EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT THEN ACTUALLY IN CLASS 6. THE REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION STATES AS FOLLOWS: THE QUESTION AT ISSUE IN THIS CASE IS WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONING TEACHERS HAVE MET THE HIGHER ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY FOR APPOINTMENT AS TEACHERS IN THE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS.

A-12514, JUNE 14, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 977

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - SCHOOL TEACHERS TEACHERS IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHO WERE IN CLASSES 3, 4, AND 5 UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1906, 34 STAT. 316, BUT WHO ACTUALLY POSSESSED ON JUNE 30, 1924, THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHERS OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS UNDER CLASS 6, GROUP A, OF THE ACT OF 1906, WERE ENTITLED TO ASSIGNMENT ON JULY 1, 1924, TO CLASS 2, GROUP C, UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1924, 43 STAT. 367, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT THEN ACTUALLY IN CLASS 6, GROUP A, UNDER THE ACT OF 1906, AND HAD NOT TAKEN A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION FOR APPOINTMENT THERETO. 5 COMP. GEN. 692, AFFIRMED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JUNE 14, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 7, 1926, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF DECISION OF MARCH 5, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 692, WITH RESPECT TO THE ALLOCATION OF CERTAIN JUNIOR HIGH-SCHOOL TEACHERS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, TO THE PROPER SALARY CLASSES AS PRESCRIBED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1924, 43 STAT. 367.

THE QUESTION OF WHICH DECISION WAS PREVIOUSLY REQUESTED WAS STATED IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 30, 1925, AS FOLLOWS:

SHOULD THE TEACHERS IN THE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PLACED IN CLASSES 3, 4, AND 5 PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1924, WHO POSSESSED THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHERS IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS AND WHO, IN ADDITION, HAD MET THE HIGHER ELIGIBILITY ESTABLISHED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION FOR TEACHERS IN THE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS, BE PLACED IN CLASS 2C, AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 6 OF PARAGRAPH E OF THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1924, OR SHOULD THEY REMAIN AS CLASSIFIED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS?

THE ANSWER IN THE DECISION WAS AS FOLLOWS:

IF THE TEACHERS REFERRED TO IN THIS SUBMISSION WERE TEACHERS IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS IN CLASSES 3, 4, AND 5 UNDER THE ACT OF 1906, BUT ACTUALLY POSSESSED ON JUNE 30, 1924, THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHERS OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS UNDER CLASS 6, GROUP A, OF THE ACT OF 1906, THEY WERE ENTITLED TO ASSIGNMENT ON JULY 1, 1924, TO CLASS 2, GROUP C, EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT THEN ACTUALLY IN CLASS 6, GROUP A, UNDER THE ACT OF 1906, AND HAD NOT TAKEN A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION FOR APPOINTMENT THERETO.

THE REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION STATES AS FOLLOWS:

THE QUESTION AT ISSUE IN THIS CASE IS WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONING TEACHERS HAVE MET THE HIGHER ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY FOR APPOINTMENT AS TEACHERS IN THE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS. THE AFOREMENTIONED DECISION DOES NOT POSITIVELY ASSERT THAT, IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, THE AFOREMENTIONED TEACHERS DID POSSESS THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHERS OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS.

THE ANSWER TO THE ABOVE QUESTION IS IMPORTANT, NOT MERELY FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THIS LIMITED NUMBER OF TEACHERS BUT FROM THE STANDPOINT OF ITS EFFECT ON TEACHERS NOW EMPLOYED, OR MAY HEREAFTER BE EMPLOYED, IN THE SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

IF THE DECISION IS LIMITED OR CAN BE LIMITED TO THE GROUP OF PERSONS ALREADY EMPLOYED IN OUR SCHOOLS, THE DECISION IS OF LIMITED IMPORTANCE. IF, HOWEVER, THE DECISION MAY BE CONSTRUED AS MEANING THAT ANY TEACHER IN OUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS ON A CLASS 1A SALARY OR ANY TEACHER IN OUR JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS ON A CLASS 2A SALARY WHO, DURING HER TEACHING, PURSUES COURSES LEADING TO A DECREE, OR IN ANY OTHER MANNER SIMILAR TO THE MANNER IN WHICH THE PETITIONING TEACHERS HAVE QUALIFIED FOR HIGHER POSITIONS, ARE TO BE CONSIDERED ELIGIBLE TO PROMOTION TO HIGHER SALARY CLASSES, AND SAID PROMOTION IS TO BE MADE WITHOUT EXAMINATION CONDUCTED BY THE BOARD OF EXAMINERS, OR WITHOUT ANY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION ON THE PART OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS AND THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, THEN THIS DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION, BECOMES OF OVERWHELMING IMPORTANCE. IT IS BECAUSE OF THIS POSSIBLE EFFECT OF THE DECISION THAT FURTHER EVIDENCE IS SUBMITTED BY THE AUDITOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN INFORMAL CONFERENCE WITH THE SOLICITOR OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S OFFICE.

IT IS FURTHER CONTENDED THAT THE TEACHERS DID NOT POSSESS THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHERS IN SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS, FOR THE REASON, FIRST, THAT THEY HAVE NEVER PRESENTED THEIR CREDENTIALS TO THE BOARD OF EXAMINERS TO HAVE DETERMINED THE QUESTION OF THEIR ELIGIBILITY FOR APPOINTMENT IN THE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS; SECOND, THAT THEY HAD NOT PASSED THE EXAMINATION PRESCRIBED BY THE BOARD OF EXAMINERS AS REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1906 (34 STAT. 318); AND THIRD, THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE RULES OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION THEY CAN NOT BE APPOINTED TO SUCH A POSITION EXCEPT AS THEIR RESPECTIVE NAMES STAND NUMBER 1 ON A RATED LIST FOR SUCH APPOINTMENT. THERE ARE QUOTED THREE PARAGRAPHS FROM THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1906, HAVING TO DO WITH THE "APPOINTMENT, PROMOTION, TRANSFER, OR DISMISSAL" OF PUBLIC-SCHOOL OFFICERS AND TEACHERS, CITING ALSO A COURT DECISION RELATIVE TO THE RIGHT OF A TEACHER TO APPOINTMENT AFTER HAVING TAKEN THE REQUIRED EXAMINATION AND HAVING BEEN PLACED AT THE HEAD OF THE RATED LIST. THREE GENERAL QUESTIONS ARE STATED BELIEVED AS INVOLVED IN THE APPLICATION OF THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE.

THERE IS NOTHING TO JUSTIFY THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE DECISION OF MARCH 5, 1926, IS, OR WAS INTENDED TO BE, APPLICABLE TO PROMOTIONS TRANSFERS, OR APPOINTMENTS. IT DEALT ONLY WITH ALLOCATIONS AS OF JULY 1, 1924. THERE WAS BUT ONE QUESTION BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR DECISION--- WHETHER TEACHERS WHO ON JUNE 30, 1924, WERE IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS HOLDING TEACHING POSITIONS IN CLASSES 3, 4, AND 5 AS FIXED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1906, POSSESSING ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS OF TEACHERS OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS, COULD BE ALLOCATED TO CLASS 2C AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 6, PARAGRAPH E, OF THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1924, 43 STAT. 372. THERE WAS NOT INVOLVED THE QUESTION OF APPOINTMENT, PROMOTION, TRANSFER, OR DISMISSAL OF SUCH TEACHERS OR OF TEACHERS AND OFFICERS GENERALLY. IT WAS EXCLUSIVELY A MATTER OF ALLOCATION OF TEACHERS HOLDING EXISTING POSITIONS, HAVING A CERTAIN STATUS AND POSSESSING CERTAIN QUALIFICATIONS ON JUNE 30, 1924, TO THE PROPER CLASS AS FIXED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1924, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1924. AND NO OTHER QUESTION WAS CONSIDERED OR DECIDED IN THE DECISION. NOTE PARTICULARLY THE PARAGRAPH ON PAGE 4 OF THE DECISION, WHICH READS:

SECTION 6 COMES UNDER ARTICLE IV OF THE ENACTMENT, WHICH ARTICLE IV IS ENTITLED "METHOD OF ASSIGNMENT OF EMPLOYEES TO SALARIES," AND IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THE QUESTION DOES NOT INVOLVE PROMOTIONS--- WHICH SEEMS TO HAVE INFLUENCED SOMEWHAT THE VIEW OF THE SCHOOL AUTHORITIES IN THEIR INTERPRETATION---- BUT THAT MATTERS OF PROMOTION ARE A SEPARATE ARTICLE IN THE ENACTMENT, ARTICLE V, WHICH IS ENTITLED "METHOD OF PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES.'

THE FILE PREVIOUSLY BEFORE THIS OFFICE, INCLUDING AN OPINION OF THE CORPORATION COUNSEL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THEN SUBMITTED, SHOWED THAT THE TEACHERS DID POSSESS THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR TEACHERS OF SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS. IT IS BELIEVED THE TERM "ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 6, PARAGRAPH E, OF THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1924, REFERS MORE PARTICULARLY TO THE PRESCRIBED SCHOLASTIC ATTAINMENTS AND TEACHING EXPERIENCE. THESE MATTERS WERE SUSCEPTIBLE OF DETERMINATION FOR PURPOSES OF ALLOCATING TEACHERS IN EXISTING POSITIONS TO THE NEW SALARY CLASSES IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT THE TEACHERS HAD NOT TAKEN A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION. FOLLOWING TO ITS LOGICAL CONCLUSION, WHAT IS NOW URGED IN THE REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION ON THE BASIS THAT ONLY THOSE TEACHERS WHO HAD TAKEN A COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION AND WERE PLACED ON A RATED LIST FOR TEACHING IN SENIOR HIGH SCHOOLS POSSESSED THE "ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 6, PARAGRAPH E, OF THE STATUTE, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN ONLY ONE TEACHER ON JUNE 30, 1924, WHO WOULD HAVE HAD THE "ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.' THAT ONE WOULD HAVE BEEN THE TEACHER IN THE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOLS WHO HAD TAKEN THE COMPETITIVE EXAMINATION FOR A SENIOR HIGH-SCHOOL TEACHER AND STOOD AT THE HEAD OF THE RATED LIST. I CAN NOT AGREE THAT SUCH WAS THE INTENT OR PURPOSE OF THE ENACTMENT.