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Tolleson Union High School District v. Kincaid

Supreme Court of Arizona

December 19, 1938

TOLLESON UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT, Appellant,
v.
HORACE KINCAID, Appellee

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of the County of Maricopa. Wm. G. Hall, Judge. Judgment affirmed.

Mr. John W. Corbin, County Attorney, and Mr. Lin Orme, Jr., his Assistant, for Appellant.

Mr. Austin O'Brien and Mr. E. J. Hilkert, for Appellee.

OPINION

Page 709

[53 Ariz. 61] McALISTER, C.J.

H. Kincaid was awarded judgment against the Tolleson Union High School District for $625, with interest, for services as principal of the high school maintained by that district, and from that judgment the defendant appeals.

The facts which give rise to the action are these: In June, 1928, the plaintiff was employed as principal [53 Ariz. 62] of the Tolleson Union High School for the year beginning June 1, 1928, and on February 18, 1929, he and the board of education of that district entered into a written contract by which he agreed to serve as principal for a term of four years from the first day of June, 1929, and the board agreed to pay him for his services $3,250 the first year and $250 additional each year thereafter during the life of the contract, the salary to be paid each year in twelve equal monthly instalments. This contract was carried out during the first, second and third years of its life but on May 25, 1932, just prior to the beginning of its fourth year, the board, due to the economic condition then prevailing and the consequent inability of the district to collect taxes to conduct the school, took the following action at a special meeting, the plaintiff being present and serving as secretary:

"Discussion of teachers salaries: Teachers were reelected at salaries as follows:

per month

J. F. Paxton

$ 170.00

$ 1700.00 for 10 mos.

E. I. McCreight

170.00

1700.00 do

W. Fred Miller

185.00

1850.00 do

Geneva Hofmann

155.00

1550.00 do

Lorna McMonagle

155.00

1550.00 do

H. Kincaid

300.00

3600.00 for 12 mos.

"Motion made by Mr. Van Landingham, seconded by Mr. Roop that the above teachers be given contracts for a period of eight months, to be extended for a full

Page 710

term of 10 months, if financial conditions warrant. Carried."

On June 27th following this action the plaintiff prepared for the board a budget for the district for the year 1932-1933 in which he set up his salary as principal at $3,600 or $300 per month, and from June 1, 1932, to June 1, 1933, he made out his salary vouchers monthly for that sum, instead of $333.33 as the contract of February 18, 1929, provided for that year, and accepted payment in that amount.

[53 Ariz. 63] The foregoing facts are not in dispute but the plaintiff was permitted to testify in substance over the objections of the defendant that at a meeting of the board on May 25, 1932, when the teachers were elected for the following year at reduced salaries, there was a discussion of the financial condition of the district and its possibility of continuing school for the next year for the required length of time and that he, because the district was then in the red on account of these conditions, agreed to accept $3,600 of the $4,000 fixed by the written contract as salary for that year, but it was suggested that there would be a way found perhaps later after conditions improved to take care of the $400 balance and that he expected it would be paid him when the district was in better condition. A member of the board at that time, Mr. R. K. Wood, testified in effect that he gained the same impression and Mrs. Nora Mann, also a member of the board, testified that they talked of the ...


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