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COBLE v. METAL TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT. (07/21/55)

July 21, 1955

COBLE, APPELLANT,
v.
METAL TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT.



Appeal, No. 114, Oct. T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, Oct. T., 1951, No. 73, in case of Llewellyn T. Coble v. School District of Metal Township. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

George S. Black, for appellant.

Edwin D. Strite, Jr., with him William C. Hazlett, for appellee.

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

Author: Rhodes

[ 178 Pa. Super. Page 302]

OPINION BY RHODES, P.J.

The single question on this appeal is whether, under the Teachers' Tenure Act of April 6, 1937, P.L. 213, § 2, and June 20, 1939, P.L. 482, § 2, amending section 1205 of the Act of May 18, 1911, P.L. 309 (see 24 PS § 1126, and Public School Code of 1949, 24 PS § 11 - 1130), the earnings of a teacher who has been wrongfully dismissed by the school board are to be set off against his claim for salary for the period of dismissal.

The facts are not in dispute; they are admitted in the pleadings or stipulated by counsel in the court below. Appellant held a valid teaching contract with the defendant school district entitling him to an annual compensation of $2,000 for the school year commencing 1946, and $2,150 for the succeeding school year beginning 1947. On July 23, 1946, the Board of Directors of the School District of Metal Township, Franklin County, preferred charges against appellant as cause for termination of his teaching contract. Hearings were held and the board notified appellant of termination of his contract on August 13, 1946.

[ 178 Pa. Super. Page 303]

Appellant appealed to the Superintendent of Public Instruction who sustained the board. From there an appeal was taken to the Court of Common Pleas of Franklin County, which, on August 26, 1947, reversed the action of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and ordered appellant reinstated as a professional employe of the defendant school district. Appellant was not paid any of the salary to which he was entitled during the period of his wrongful discharge from August 13, 1946, to October 25, 1947. Appellant instituted the present action to recover, with interest, the amount of salary he would have received under his contract from August 13, 1946, the date of his dismissal, to October 25, 1947, the effective date of his resignation. The unpaid salary amounted to $2,408.23. At the trial it was stipulated that appellant was employed elsewhere as a teacher during the period in question at a salary higher than that provided in the contract with defendant school district. The trial court held that appellant was not entitled to anything except nominal damages, as the loss of compensation by reason of the breach of the contract was the only damages alleged. The jury, as directed, returned a verdict for nominal damages of $1 in favor of plaintiff. Appellant's motion for a new trial was refused, and judgment was entered on the verdict. This appeal followed.

Appellant's position is that under the Teachers' Tenure Act, having been wrongfully discharged, he was entitled to his full salary, without any set-off or diminution for amounts earned elsewhere. Reliance is placed upon the italicized portion of section 1205, subsection (i), of the Act of May 18, 1911, P.L. 309, as amended by the Acts of April 6, 1937, P.L. 213, § 2, and June 20, 1939, P.L. 482, § 2, which provides: "In all cases where the final decision is in favor of the professional employe, the charges made shall be physically

[ 178 Pa. Super. Page 304]

    expunged from the records of the board of school directors (or the board of public education), and in all such cases, there shall be no abatement of salary or compensation, but a complete official transcript of the records of the hearing shall be ...


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