Court cases involving contracts for school districts
The purpose of this research was to analyze trends in the United States regarding contract disputes that exist in school districts. Court cases were identified at the state and federal level to determine the outcomes and the fact patterns of contract disputes. To gain the knowledge of how courts handle cases of contractual breach, contracts lacking authority or contracts of dispute is a worthy study that affords valuable knowledge for school districts. It proves further to be a significant study for local school boards, superintendents, school principals and administrators when considering the daunting task of negotiating contracts. If there is a lack of understanding with regards to contracts, contractual language, the three basic elements of a contract and remedies for contract breach there is also a fundamental deficiency in the way school districts do business - thus promoting a greater possibility of increased litigation and loss of money and delayed projects. Court cases from across the United States which included 38 states and the District of Columbia and included the years from 1980 to 2001 were analyzed for this study. There were a total of 121 cases involving some level of dispute of the contractual arrangements between construction companies, businesses, municipalities, education associations and individuals versus school districts. Of the 121 cases analyzed in 38 states the cases were reviewed by trial courts, court of appeals, circuit courts, district courts and the state supreme court. Generally, the case was determined by the amount of evidence presented and if there was a valid documented contract with an offer, consideration and acceptance of the terms. Once the terms were identified the court proceedings would then reveal a summary judgment or decision. There were 17 guiding principles developed from the analysis of the cases included in this study. The intent purpose of these guiding principles is to better equip the school administrator to understand contracts and contractual language with emphasis on the three essential elements of a contract.