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Irwin Law
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Experience:  Lawyer & Real Estate Broker, 30+ years, foreclosure, land contracts, inheritance, probate.
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Teacher contract nonrenewal in Connecticut

Resolved Question:

Teacher contract for nontenured teacher in Connecticut drafted by board of education provides for automatic renewal through next school year unless teacher is notified by April 1 of the previous school year to the contrary.


Contract further states that it is "subject to Connecticut General Statutes", which presumably includes Sec. 10-151, which states, in part, that teacher contracts for non-tenured teachers renew into the next academic year unless teacher is notified to the contrary by May 1 of the previous year.


What is the effect of an April 13 dated notification of nonrenewal and intent to publicize same?  Would that be a contract breach?


Need the legal principle or reason or analysis of the wording to support answer.

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.

The answer to your question is quite simple and does not legal research or authority to support it. The contract provision of April 1 notification is itself modified by later language in the contract which makes it subject to CN General Statutes. Thus, the statutory time of May 1 clearly trumps the April 1 contract provision. IMO that would be the case even without the subject to clause in the contract, because a state statute will always be superior to a contract. It is not an ambiguity that requires a court to interpret the contract.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The first sentence immediately degrades the value of my question. I think the question does require analyais or I'd not have asked it. There are intracacies here as to why or if the state law eould override contract. Was the negotiating agency free to contract a shorter notice period? Is the a contradiction that would cause statute to govern? If the contract renewed on day 1 by contract then how could ıt be nonrenewed on day 1+x? Does the gramattical constrctipn of the clauses tell ıs anything? Was the statute drafted to provide an outside limit for notification?

What about the fact that the school district drafted the contract? If the dates were already in statute and drafter intended to relt upon them, why write a different date in the contract?

I don't think you've gotten to the crux of the matter and your first sentence is an indicator that you might not have intended to.
Expert:  Irwin Law replied 2 years ago.

I wasn't trying to degrade your question. It seemed obvious to me as an attorney who is very experienced in contract issues, that the later language of the contract referring to state law and the statute itself would over ride the April 1 provison. IOW, the board would have until May 1 to give the non-renewal notice. I don't know of any legal arguments that would support an argument that the April 1 date over rides the provision of the contract which makes it subject to CN statutes and the statute in question. I think what you have in mind is something called "estoppel" which is a complex legal argument which can be used to prevent a party from raising certain defenses or making certain arguments in a lawsuit. Example: I give you deed to certain real estate that I own. Later, I file suit against you claiming that someone else actually owns that property. The law does not permit me to make an argument which flies in the face of the deed that I gave you. Is the school board estopped from denying the validity of the April 1 clause in its own contract, even though there is a later qualification in the same contract. You can argue that position either way, but I think the stronger argument is that it doesn't. You might well take the opposing view and that what makes a legal dispute that the judge will have to decide.

Irwin Law, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5627
Experience: Lawyer & Real Estate Broker, 30+ years, foreclosure, land contracts, inheritance, probate.
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