Appeal, No. 269, Jan. T., 1959, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County, Dec. T., 1958, No. 14, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ex rel. William C. Storb, District Attorney of Lancaster County v. Robert M. Schroll. Judgment reversed. Quo warrantor. Order entered granting judgment on the pleadings for defendant, opinion by JOHNSTONE, JR., J. Plaintiff appealed.
Mark R. Eaby, Jr., with him David R. Eaby, and Eaby and Eaby, for appellant.
W. H. Brown, with him Brown & Zimmerman, for appellee.
Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Mcbride, JJ.
OPINION BY MR. BENJAMIN R. JONES
This proceeding in quo warrantor attacks the eligibility of Robert M. Schroll to act as a school director in Earl Township, Lancaster County.
On November 6, 1956 Schroll was appointed to the office of school director of Earl Township to fill an unexpired term which runs until the 1st Monday of December, 1961; he then assumed the duties of that office. On December 4, 1958 the Commonwealth, upon the relation of the District Attorney of Lancaster County,*fn1 instituted quo warrantor proceedings to test Schroll's title to office alleging that, at the time of his appointment, Schroll had not been a resident of Earl Township School District for one (1) year as required by the Public School Code.*fn2 An Answer, including new matter, was filed by Schroll wherein he admitted that he had not been a resident of the school district for one (1) year prior to his appointment but averred that the quo warrantor proceeding was barred by laches. After a Reply by the Commonwealth which admitted that Schroll had been a resident of the district since March 17, 1956 - seven months and nineteen days prior to his appointment - the Commonwealth moved for judgment on the pleadings. The Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County entered judgment on the pleadings in
favor of Schroll. From this judgment the present appeal was taken.
The relevant portion of the Public School Code, supra, provides: "Any citizen of this Commonwealth, having a good moral character, being twenty-one (21) years of age or upwards, and having been a resident of the district for at least one (1) year prior to the date of his election or appointment, shall be eligible to the office of school director therein ...." (Emphasis supplied). It is evident that, at the time of his appointment and at the time he took the oath and assumed the duties of his office, Schroll did not meet the eligibility requirements of the Code.*fn3 Furthermore the pleadings
do not disclose any claim that Schroll's disqualification was removed, after the commencement of his term, on March 17, 1957, the date when Schroll completed one year of residence within the district. The sole basis of Schroll's defense and the ground upon which the court below entered judgment was that the Commonwealth, not having filed quo warrantor proceedings until two ...