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SUSAN KAPUSTIK v. SCHOOL DISTRICT CITY ARNOLD. APPEAL SCHOOL DISTRICT CITY ARNOLD (01/14/55)

January 14, 1955

SUSAN KAPUSTIK, ALSO KNOWN AS SUSAN K. TIMKO,
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF ARNOLD. APPEAL OF SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF ARNOLD



Appeal, No. 185, April T., 1954, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, August T., 1952, No. 280, in case of Susan Kapustik, also known as Susan K. Timko v. School District of the City of Arnold. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Andrew S. Romito, Arnold, C. Harold Skodol, McKeesport, for appellant.

D. J. Snyder, Jr., Greensburg, with him P. K. Jones, New Kensington, Kunkle & Trescher, Greensburg, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Ervin

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 269]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.,

This is an appeal by the School District of the City of Arnold from a judgment of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County entered in a case stated in an action in assumpsit brought by an employe to recover salary payments claimed to be due as damages for the breach of her contract of employment.

On May 14, 1945 the plaintiff, Susan Kapustik (now married and known as Susan Timko) was employed as a clerk by the board of school directors of the defendant school district. The term of employment covered a period of twelve months beginning with the year 1945-1946 and the salary for this period was fixed at $80.00 per month. The plaintiff entered upon her duties without any formal written contract and was paid the stipulated salary. The plaintiff continued in the employment of the defendant school district in a clerical capacity until her services were terminated by the board effective at the close of business on January

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 27031]

, 1952. In each of these years the retention of plaintiff as a clerical employe was indicated by motions of the board of school directors adopting annual salary schedules. The discharge of the plaintiff was due to the action of the board of directors in combining certain clerical jobs for the purpose of attaining greater efficiency and economy but no reason for her dismissal was ever communicated to the plaintiff. The plaintiff immediately demanded a statement of the reasons for her dismissal and demanded a hearing thereon, both of which were refused. The plaintiff held herself ready and willing to perform the required services for the defendant school district during the entire school year through June 30, 1952, and then brought suit for her salary for February through June of 1952, in the total amount of $1,041.65 with interest. Plaintiff averred she had a valid and enforceable contract of employment under the Pennsylvania Public School Code and her discharge was a violation of her contract for which she was entitled to her salary for the remaining months of the school term. The defendant school district denied being indebted to the plaintiff in any sum whatever for the reason that plaintiff had not entered into a written contract of employment with defendant but was merely hired as a clerk by oral motion and therefore did not have a valid and enforceable contract under Section 1121 of the Public School Code of 1949 and her employment was therefore terminable at will. The court below decided that a written contract of employment was not required and entered judgment for the plaintiff in the full amount claimed. This appeal followed.

There is no basis for the contention by appellant that appellee did not have a valid and enforceable contract because no formal written contract had ever been executed by the parties. It is admitted that the appellee

[ 177 Pa. Super. Page 271]

    cannot be classified a "professional employe" as that term is defined in the Public School Code of 1949.*fn1 Therefore she does not come within the purview of Section 1121 of the Public School Code of 1949 which requires that all contracts with professional employes shall be in writing and in the form specifically provided therein.*fn2 Moreover, there is no requirement in the School Code that a clerical employe must have a written contract of employment. Appellee's acceptance of the appointment and commencement of her duties as a clerk pursuant to her election by majority vote of the board of school directors resulted in a valid contract of employment. Pertinent and applicable here is the following excerpt from the opinion of Mr. Justice POTTER in Toye v. Exeter Borough School District, 225 Pa. 236, 241, 74 A. 60, which was decided prior to the enactment of legislation requiring contracts with teachers to be in writing: "The minutes of the board meeting show that the plaintiff was elected by the affirmative votes of a majority of the whole number of directors, and the names of ...


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