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INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT CHEWTON APPEAL. (01/16/61)

January 16, 1961

INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT OF CHEWTON APPEAL.


Appeal, No. 264, March T., 1960, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lawrence County, March T., 1959, No. 34, in re Independent School District of Chewton. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Thomas V. Mansell, with him Ronald E. Jones, and Mansell and McKee, for appellant.

Alfred V. Papa, for appellee.

Before Jones, C.j., Bell, Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Bok and Eagen, JJ.

Author: Eagen

[ 402 Pa. Page 463]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE EAGEN.

This appeal is from the order of the court below abolishing the Independent School District of Chewton, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. The action was commenced pursuant to the provisions of the Act of November 9, 1959, P.L. 1391, No. 490, § 1, 24 PS § 2-243.

The Independent School District of Chewton was created on June 27, 1911, out of a part of Wayne Township. It is a district of the fourth class. The present action was instituted by a petition filed by 258 taxpayers of the district whom the court below found to constitute a majority of the taxpayers of the district.

The Act of 1959, supra, provides as follows: "Any independent school district, established as herein provided, may be abolished at any time by the court of common pleas of the county in which its school buildings are located, on the petition of its board of school directors, or on the petition of a majority of the resident taxpayers in the independent school district, after hearing, of which due notice shall be given, as the court may direct, to the school district or districts to which its lands would revert."

The question here presented has been stated by the parties to this appeal in almost identical language. "Can the Court of Common Pleas abolish an Independent School District without the vote of the people, under the provisions of the Public School Code, when to do so would place the Independent School District in its original district, which is now a Union District?" The question, as stipulated, requires a review of the following additional facts.

[ 402 Pa. Page 464]

On July 1, 1959, there was born a third class school district, known as the Ellwood Union District. This was comprised of the boroughs of Ellport and Ellwood and the townships of Wayne and Perry. The Wayne Township School District, previously existing, together with the Independent School District of Chewton, had both been created out of different parts of Wayne Township. Appellant contends that by virtue of the Wayne Township School District's membership in the Ellwood Union District, there remained, as of the date of the final order entered below, no existing school district to which the Independent School District of Chewton could revert upon its abolition.

The order below decreed that "the Independent School District of Chewton, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, be abolished and shall revert to the School District of Wayne Township, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, wherein the ...


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