may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
James F. Jamnick,
Cambridge Middle School,
Commissioner of Economic Security,
Filed July 21, 1998
Department of Economic Security
Agency File No. 8645UC97
Kent E. Todd, Department of Economic Security, 390 N. Robert St., St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent Commissioner)
Considered and decided by Short, Presiding Judge, Huspeni, Judge, and Willis, Judge.
Relator, a teacher whose contract for the coming school year was not signed until July, challenges the denial of reemployment insurance benefits for the period between two school years. Because the denial is mandated by Minn. Stat. § 268.08, we affirm.
Relator sought reemployment insurance benefits for the period June 6, 1997, to July 24, 1997. An adjudicator determined that relator was eligible for benefits only until July 6, the date on his contract, and relator appealed. A reemployment insurance judge then held that relator was not eligible for benefits for any period. Relator again appealed, and a representative of the commissioner of economic security affirmed. Relator challenges the commissioner's representative's decision.
Benefits based upon service performed in an instructional * * * capacity for an educational institution, shall not be paid for any week of unemployment commencing during the period between two successive academic years or terms, * * * to any claimant if the claimant performs the services in the first of the academic years or terms and if there is a contract or a reasonable assurance that the claimant will perform services in any such capacity for an educational institution in the second of the academic years or terms * * *.
(Emphasis added). The basis for relator's appeal is the meaning of the term "reasonable assurance" in this statute. The construction of statutes is a question of law. Hibbing Educ. Ass'n v. Public Employment Relations Bd., 369 N.W.2d 527, 529 (Minn. 1985). This court is not bound by the commissioner's representative's conclusions of law. Ress v. Abbott Northwestern Hosp., Inc., 448 N.W.2d 519, 523 (Minn. 1989).
Relator argues that he did not have "reasonable assurance" before July 24 because his contract was not signed. However, the statute says "a contract or a reasonable assurance * * *." Given the explicit disjunctive, a contract is not required for reasonable assurance.
Relator testified that before June 6, 1997, he interviewed with the principal of North Branch High School, that the principal orally offered him a job, that they discussed starting date and pay, that relator accepted the job orally two days later, that no one had authority to cancel the offer, and that the principal gave no indication that relator might not get the job. Relator's own testimony shows he had "reasonable assurance" of employment as of June 6, even though he continued to look for other jobs after that date.
Finally, relator relies on Swanson v. Independent Sch. Dist. No. 625, 484 N.W.2d 432 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. June 30, 1992), to argue that he did not have "reasonable assurance" until the board signed his contract. However, the employee in Swanson was terminated on June 7 and notified by letter on June 16 that she would be rehired as of July 1. Id. at 433. She was found not entitled to benefits after June 16 because the letter constituted "reasonable assurance" within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 268.08, subd. 6(a). Id. at 434. Swanson does not support relator's position.
Relator was not entitled to benefits for any of the period between the two school years.