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WEAVERLAND INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT CASE (06/28/54)

June 28, 1954

WEAVERLAND INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT CASE


Appeal, No. 272, Jan. T., 1953, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Trust Book 38, page 82, in re Weaverland Independent School District. Order affirmed. Proceeding upon petition of taxpayers for creation of independent school district. Before SCHAEFFER, P.J. and WISSLER, J. Order entered dismissing petition, opinion by WISSLER, J. Petitioner appealed.

COUNSEL

Stanley Folz, with him K. L. Shirk, Jr., K. L. Shirk, Sr. and Folz, Bard, Kamsler, Goodis & Greenfield, for appellant.

Robert Ruppin, with him Thomas H. Wentz, for appellee.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Jones

[ 378 Pa. Page 450]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

The appellant was one of a large number of signers of a petition to the court below for the establishment of an independent school district. The petition was filed in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the Public School Code of 1949, P.L. 30, 24 PS §§ 2-241 and 2-242. Section 242 requires the approval of such a petition by the Superintendent of Public Instruction as a condition precedent to the creation of a fourth class school district which the proposed district (having

[ 378 Pa. Page 451]

    a population of 1349) would have been if created.*fn1 The Superintendent of Public Instruction disapproved the petition, and the court below subsequently dismissed it. The appellant brings the case here, contending that Section 242 of the Code is unconstitutional in so far as it makes the Superintendent's disapproval of such a petition determinative of the relief sought. The material facts are as follows.

A majority of the taxable inhabitants of a specifically described contiguous territory located entirely within East Earl Township School District, Lancaster County, petitioned the court below for the establishment of the described area as an independent school district. The petition averred that the creation of such a school district "would be of advantage to the pupils in the proposed new school district and an advantage to the pupils in the remaining part of East Earl Township, as well as an advantage to the residents and people of the proposed new school district, and of the remainder of East Earl Township." No answer was filed, but, on the day scheduled for a hearing on the petition, the directors of East Earl Township School District and the then projected Eastern Lancaster County Joint School Authority appeared in opposition to the establishment of the independent school district.

It is undisputed that the population of the proposed school district is 1349; that of this number 573 are taxables, 487 of whom signed the petition; that within the proposed district there are 7 one-room schools with an aggregate enrollment of 256 pupils in grades 1 to 9, inclusive (for an average of 36 plus

[ 378 Pa. Page 452]

    pupils per room); that the proposed district comprises the northern half of East Earl Township and, in the main, is composed of farms; that the southern half of the township is also largely farm land; and that the assessed valuation of the real estate in the proposed district ...


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