Posts tagged "Teacher’s"

Garney v. Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-143-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11493 RONALD T. GARNEY  vs.  MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM. Worcester.     April 10, 2014. – August 18, 2014.   Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.[1] Retirement.  Public Employment, Forfeiture of retirement benefits.  School and School Committee, Retirement benefits.     Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on January 14, 2010.   The case was heard by John S. McCann, J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.   Robert G. Fabino (James H. Salvie, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him) for the defendant. Michael C. Donahue for the plaintiff.     CORDY, J.  This case concerns the scope of the pension forfeiture requirement of G. L. c. 32, § 15 (4), and specifically whether forfeiture is warranted where a teacher has engaged in criminal activity that endangers children generally, but does not involve the students whom he taught, the school district for which he worked, or the use of his status as a teacher.  The plaintiff, Ronald T. Garney, a ninth grade science teacher, was arrested in 2006 for the purchase and possession of child pornography.  Shortly after his arrest, he received notice that he would be dismissed from his position for conduct unbecoming a teacher and resigned prior to his dismissal.  He subsequently pleaded guilty to purchasing and possessing child pornography.  In August, 2007, when he reached retirement age, Garney filed a retirement application with the defendant, the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS), and received retirement benefits until 2009, when the MTRS board (board) issued a decision concluding that Garney’s benefits were forfeited by operation of G. L. c. 32, § 15 (4), due to his convictions.[2]  A District Court judge affirmed the board’s decision, and Garney petitioned for certiorari review in the Superior Court pursuant to G. L. c. 249, § 4.  A Superior Court judge reversed the decision of the District Court and vacated the decision of the board.  MTRS appealed, and we transferred its appeal to this court on our own motion. Although cognizant of the severity of the offenses of which Garney was convicted, we conclude that on the specific facts of this case, those offenses neither directly involved his position as a teacher nor contravened a particular law applicable to that position, and therefore did not come within the forfeiture provision of […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System v. Contributory Retirement Appeal Board, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-162-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11287   MASSACHUSETTS TEACHERS’ RETIREMENT SYSTEM  vs.  CONTRIBUTORY RETIREMENT APPEAL BOARD & another.[1]     Suffolk.     May 6, 2013.  ‑  August 28, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Contributory Retirement Appeal Board.  Retirement.  Public Employment, Retirement.  School and School Committee, Retirement benefits.  Interest.  Administrative Law, Regulations, Agency’s interpretation of regulation, Agency’s interpretation of statute.  Regulation.  Statute, Construction.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on August 20, 2010.   The case was heard by Janet L. Sanders, J., on a motion for judgment on the pleadings.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     James C. O’Leary (James H. Salvie, Special Assistant Attorney General, with him) for the plaintiff. Kirk G. Hanson, Assistant Attorney General, for Contributory Retirement Appeals Board. Timothy J. Smyth, for Boston Retirement Board, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  We are called upon to settle a dispute between two administrative agencies, the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System (MTRS) and the Contributory Retirement Appeal Board (CRAB), concerning the validity of a regulation promulgated by MTRS. James T. Walsh had been a professional electrician for many years when, in 1980, he was certified by the Department of Education to teach in his occupational field.  In October, 1987, he began full-time employment at a vocational school and became a member of MTRS.  In December, 2005, before the effective date of his retirement the following June, Walsh applied to MTRS to increase his anticipated retirement allowance by adding to his “creditable service” (his years of service as a member of MTRS) through the “buyback” of three years of creditable service, based on his work experience as an electrician.  Walsh sought credit for service performed from February 1, 1977, through January 31, 1980.  This buyback required Walsh to pay certain “makeup payments” into the annuity savings fund of MTRS, in accordance with a formula set forth in G. L. c. 32, § 4 (1) (h1/2) (trade service credit statute).  That statutory formula calls for “buyback interest” to be paid on such makeup payments.  Pursuant to 807 Code Mass. Regs. § 14.05 (2005), a regulation promulgated by MTRS, MTRS assessed buyback interest to commence as of February 1, 1977, the beginning of the three-year period for which Walsh sought trade service credit. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 29, 2013 at 1:09 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Superintendent: Counselors Ready as Students, Teachers Return to Classrooms

Boston School Superintendent Carol Johnson sent a reverse 911 call to all public school parents Sunday night. In the message, Johnson thanked Boston police and all other first responders for their work on Marathon Monday and throughout the past week. “We hope your family is safe and well and that you are looking forward to returning to a normal schedule tomorrow, just as we are,” said Johnson. “Our school leaders and counseling teams are ready to help students who may have trouble processing what happened last week – and we have posted resources for parents on our website, at www.bostonpublicschools.org.” South End Patch

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 22, 2013 at 1:25 am

Categories: Arrests   Tags: , , , , , ,

Through a Teacher’s Eyes: New Photo Project By Boston Educator

“A student has to be a valedictorian – or bring a gun to school – in order to be considered newsworthy,” says Amika Kemmler-Ernst.  An educator for more than 40 years, she’s talking about our tendency to focus on either the great or the horrible, while paying less attention to everything in between. A teacher of children and a mentor to teachers, Dr. Kemmler-Ernst is now officially retired. But in an ongoing visual ethnography project, she’s been visiting Boston Public Schools (BPS) and taking pictures of normal kids in action, learning at school. It’s a passion she’s indulged in throughout a career teaching in Brookline, Boston, around Africa, and in Italy.  Shelved at her Jamaica Plain home, bulging albums hold photos of kids at work, in their classrooms, and on the field trips of her own design. Always, she asks students to add their own words to explain what’s they are doing in the pictures. “I wanted to find a way to celebrate ordinary kids,” says Kemmler-Ernst.  A photographer who’s not into camera lenses and gadgets, Kemmler-Ernst’s tool of choice is a modest point-and-shoot that she uses without a flash, the better to blend in during the mornings she’s making pictures at a school. She looks for kids engaged in their work. With a circling motion of her arm, she redirects students to turn away from her and not pose for the camera. After editing the photos, she returns to the classrooms to ask the students in the pictures to explain what they are doing and learning. (Schools help select photos for publication and check media permissions.) The resulting text and photos become tabloid-page-size stories about individual schools, currently being published as a series by the Boston Teachers Union on their website and newsletter under the title, “We’re Learning Here.” Mostly teachers are exposed to Kemmler-Ernst’s work. She’s gratified when she hears from a teacher that her stories themselves can instruct. But she also wishes the general public were more aware of all the good happening in BPS. Kemmler-Ernst recalls noticing during her own graduate studies at Harvard that much research looks at pathology, examines what doesn’t work, and focuses on the negative. So while her “We’re Learning Here” series intentionally deals with the everyday, there are always small surprises to be discovered. For example, during her recent visit to the Clapp Innovation School in Dorchester, Kemmler-Ernst peeked in on a P.E. class. The teacher, Ms. Scott, was working on a yoga lesson. But what struck Kemmler-Ernst was that the walls were papered with word lists, used for spelling and vocabulary purposes in many a classroom. But here, in the gym, an uncommon […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 23, 2013 at 10:13 am

Categories: Arrests   Tags: , , , , , ,