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2009-UP-044 - Fleming v. Board of Commissioners

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Ernest Fleming, Respondent,

v.

Board of Commissioners for Florence County School District Three, Appellant.


Appeal From Florence County
 Paul M. Burch, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-044
Submitted January 2, 2009 – Filed January 15, 2009   


AFFIRMED


Chalmers C. Johnson, of Mount Pleasant, for Appellant.

Charles J. Boykin and Karla M. Hawkins, both of Columbia, for Respondent. 

PER CURIAM: Florence County School District Three (District) employed Ernest Fleming as a teacher and a basketball coach under two separate contracts.  When the District declined to renew Fleming’s coaching contract, Fleming sought judicial review of the District’s decision.  Fleming now appeals from the circuit court’s order dismissing his action against the District because Fleming was not aggrieved by the construction or administration of a school law and because Fleming lacked a constitutionally protected property interest in continuing to coach in the future.  We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities. 

As to the question whether Fleming had the right to pursue circuit court review of the board of trustees’ decision:  S.C. Code § 59-19-510 (2004) (limiting review of decisions by boards of trustees to matters arising from “the construction or administration of the school laws”); Rule 8(a)(2), SCRCP (requiring plaintiff to plead “facts showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”). 

As to the question whether Fleming possessed a property interest in continuing to coach in the future:  S.C. Code Ann. § 59-25-410 (2004) (establishing procedures to protect property interest in teaching contracts); Johnson v. Spartanburg County Sch. Dist. No. 7, 314 S.C. 340, 343, 444 S.E.2d 501, 502 (1994) (finding section 59-25-410 created property interest in teaching contract but not in non-teaching contract); Lexington County Sch. Dist. One Bd. of Trustees v. Bost, 282 S.C. 32, 36, 316 S.E.2d 677, 679 (1984) (holding even if a school policy creates a property interest in continued employment as a teacher, it “does not create an entitlement to the extracurricular duty of coaching”); Hamilton v. Bd. of Trustees of Oconee County Sch. Dist., 282 S.C. 519, 524, 319 S.E.2d 717, 721 (Ct. App. 1984) (finding property interest in employment may come from express or implied contracts or from a mutual understanding, and holding “abstract need or desire” or “unilateral expectation” insufficient to establish property interest). 

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, PIEPER, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.