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PHOENIXVILLE BOROUGH v. PHOENIXVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT (05/24/66)

decided: May 24, 1966.

PHOENIXVILLE BOROUGH, APPELLANT,
v.
PHOENIXVILLE SCHOOL DISTRICT



Appeal from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Equity No. 1802, 1966, in case of Borough of Phoenixville v. Phoenixville School District, Schuylkill Township School District, East Pikeland Township School District et al.

COUNSEL

William J. C. O'Donnell, for appellant.

D. Clarke Sautter, with him Fred W. Deininger and Joseph G. McKeone, for appellees.

Bell, C. J., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 421 Pa. Page 347]

The school districts of the Borough of Phoenixville, Schuylkill Township and East Pikeland Township, all in Chester County, will become a single school district on July 1, 1966, under the provisions of the School Reorganization Act (Act of March 10, 1949, P. L. 30, § 303.1(b) added August 8, 1963, P. L. 564, § 5, as amended, April 6, 1965, P. L. -- No. 17, § 1, 24 P.S. § 3-303.1(b)). The Act required the incumbent school directors of the several districts to meet in convention on or before January 15, 1966, to select by majority vote an interim operating committee composed of nine incumbent school directors.

On November 11, 1965, the joint board of school directors, comprising all the school directors of all three districts, met and unanimously adopted a motion "that the Board recommend the adoption of the (above) six rules at the beginning of the Convention to be held on January 5, 1966." Those rules, inter alia, were as follows: "1. The nine directors are to be proportioned on a 4-3-2 basis with Phoenixville having four members; Schuylkill having three members; and East Pikeland having two members on the Interim Operating Committee. 2. The three directors whose terms will expire in 1969 are to be elected on the first ballot. 3. The three directors elected for the term expiring in 1969 shall be proportioned with one from each of the three districts."

On January 5, 1966, prior to the hour fixed for the convention, the Borough of Phoenixville filed a complaint in equity against all three school districts and all their school directors, seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent them from selecting an interim operating

[ 421 Pa. Page 348]

    committee upon any basis which would result in the election, appointment or selection of less than six members of the Board of School Directors of the Borough of Phoenixville as members of that interim operating committee. A rule to show cause was issued, followed by a hearing held on January 7, 1966, at which time the defendants made a motion to dismiss the complaint. The chancellor discharged the rule to show cause but deferred action on and held under advisement the motion to dismiss the complaint.

The Borough of Phoenixville has appealed from the refusal to grant a preliminary injunction. The borough's request for a preliminary injunction was based on the following contentions:

(1) The defendants' agreement in advance of the election to limit Phoenixville representation on the new board to a minority of four members was illegal in that it did not represent proper consideration of the principle of proportionate representation according to population as required by the constitution and specifically demanded by the statute.

(2) The defendants improperly based their consideration on population "estimates" rather ...


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