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MCKINLEY v. LUZERNE TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT (ET AL. (11/28/55)

November 28, 1955

MCKINLEY
v.
LUZERNE TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT (ET AL., APPELLANT).



Appeal, No. 174, March T., 1955, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, No. 2166, in equity, in case of Charles McKinley et al. v. The School District of Luzerne Township and Donald Broadwater. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Anthony Cavalcante, with him Thomas A. Waggoner, Jr., and J. E. Ferens, for appellant.

Jos. W. Ray, Jr., with him David E. Cohen, for appellees.

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

Author: Stern

[ 383 Pa. Page 290]

OPINION BY MR. CHIEF JUSTICE HORACE STERN

This appeal is from a decree of the court below reducing the compensation of a tax collector fixed by the

[ 383 Pa. Page 291]

Board of School Directors of a Third Class School District.

Appellant, Donald Broadwater, has been the tax collector of Luzerne Township, Fayette County, since January, 1950. Previously thereto the compensation of the collector of school taxes for that School District had been 2 1/2% of the collections, and by virtue of that allowance the collector had received for the year 1949 $4,621.44, which, together with his compensation from the County and the Township of $4,890.78, gave him a total income of $9,512.22. In 1950 the rate of commission was raised to 4% and in 1951 to 5%, at which it was continued for the years 1951, 1952 and 1953. On March 7, 1953, it was again fixed by the School Board at that rate for the collector's then succeeding four-year term. In November, 1953, Broadwater was reelected for a term of 4 years. A new School Board having been appointed in February, 1954, to succeed others who had been removed by the court for wilful neglect and refusal to perform certain mandatory duties required of them by the Public School Code, this new Board, on May 26, 1954, heard a protest by a representative of the Taxpayer's Association against continuing the rate of commission at 5%, but the Board refused to make any reduction and adopted a budget for 1954-1955 which provided for an appropriation of $9,000 to cover the payment at that rate. Thereupon plaintiffs, who are resident taxpayers of the School District, filed a complaint in equity praying the court to nullify the action of the School Directors. Hearing having been held, the court entered a decree that the resolution of the School Board of March 7, 1953, fixing the compensation of the tax collector at 5% of his collections for the then next succeeding four-year term was null and void, and it ordered that an injunction issue restraining the School Directors from allowing or

[ 383 Pa. Page 292]

    paying and the tax collector from receiving or retaining as compensation for his services any sum or sums in excess of 2 1/2% of taxes collected during the discount periods and 5% thereafter. It is from that decree that Broadwater has taken the present appeal.

Two questions are here presented for consideration; one, whether the court had power to change the rate of commission after the election and qualification of the tax collector, and the other, whether the Board of School Directors abused its discretion in ...


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