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LAKELAND JOINT SCHOOL DISTRICT AUTHORITY v. SCOTT TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT. (05/27/64)

May 27, 1964

LAKELAND JOINT SCHOOL DISTRICT AUTHORITY, APPELLANT,
v.
SCOTT TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT.



Petition for reargument granted on January 30, 1964. Reargued April 23, 1964. Before BELL, C.J., JONES, COHEN, EAGEN, O'BRIEN and ROBERTS, JJ. Appeal, No. 194, Jan. T., 1963, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, Sept. T., 1962, No. 1788, in case of Lakeland Joint School District Authority, Lakeland Joint School District, School District of Borough of Jermyn et al. v. School District of Township of Scott. Order reversed.

COUNSEL

Oscar M. Hansen, with him Charles S. DeLaney, Thomas D. Nabors, Jr., and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, for appellants.

Paul H. Price, Solicitor, with him Oliver, Price & Rhodes, for school district, appellee.

John D. Killiam, III, Deputy Attorney General, with him Walter E. Alessandroni, Attorney General, for Commonwealth, intervenor.

Before Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ. Order affirmed by an evenly divided court on October 28, 1963.

Author: Jones

[ 414 Pa. Page 453]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE JONES

This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County refusing to entertain jurisdiction of a declaratory judgment proceeding.

On December 11, 1959, the school districts of the boroughs of Jermyn and Mayfield and the townships of Carbondale, Greenfield and Scott (member districts), all in Lackawanna County, entered into a written agreement (jointure contract), for the purpose of forming the Lakeland Joint School District (joint district), to establish and operate a joint school system to be administered by a joint school board (joint board), initially composed of all members of the participating school district boards. Inter alia, this jointure contract provided for the construction of a junior-senior high school (high school) in Scott Township (Scott), to accommodate all high school students in the system and, further, provided that the effective date of the contract would be the first Monday in July

[ 414 Pa. Page 4541959]

and would continue for a two-year period and, thereafter, for three-year periods, unless one or more of the districts elected to discontinue the contract by giving notice thereof one year prior to the expiration of any such period.

Pursuant to the Municipality Authorities Act (Act of May 2, 1945, P.L. 382, as amended, 53 P.S. ยง 301 et seq.) the member districts formed the Lakeland Joint School District Authority (Authority), to construct and equip the high school. Initial financing of the project was to be through the sale of the Authority's revenue bonds and, upon completion, the school was to be leased to the joint district at a rental to be paid by the member districts in proportionate shares specified in the jointure contract.

Thereafter various steps were taken toward construction of the school. The Department of Public Instruction of the Commonwealth approved the project; the school site in Scott Township was selected and approved by the necessary public agencies; the site was duly authorized for transfer to the Authority. Provisional plans were prepared by architects and test borings, well drillings and rough site clearing were completed. In order to expedite the financing, the Authority borrowed from several banks in Pennsylvania and obligated itself to make further expenditures so that by May 1962 the Authority had incurred obligations amounting to approximately $280,000.*fn1 Final plans and specifications for the project were approved by the joint board and, thereafter, by necessary public agencies, and the property selected as the site for the school was conveyed to the Authority. As ...


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