Appeal from order of Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County, No. 183 Commonwealth Docket, 1965, in case of State Board of Education v. Franklin Township School District.
Warren G. Morgan, Assistant Attorney General, with him John P. McCord, Deputy Attorney General, and Edward Friedman, Attorney General, for State Board of Education, appellant.
Robert Rhodes Rice, with him McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for appellee.
Peter J. Nolan, Solicitor, for interested parties under Rule 48 of the Superior Court.
William W. Knox, Conrad Pearson, Irving O. Murphy, Daniel L. R. Miller, and Knox, Pearson & McLaughlin, and MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton, and McClure & Miller, for amici curiae.
N. K. Parker, Jr., John U. Anderson, Jr., Harry Woodruff Turner, J. Richard Lauver, Spencer G. Hall, and Kirkpatrick, Pomeroy, Lockhart & Johnson, and Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, for amicus curiae.
Paul D. Shafer, Jr., Wayne S. Luce, E. Y. Calvin, John H. Bozic, Jr., and Herbert E. Varnum, for amicus curiae.
Ervin, P. J., Wright, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. (Watkins, J., absent). Opinion by Ervin, P. J. Wright, J., would affirm on the opinion of Judge Bowman. Spaulding, J., concurs in the result.
[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 412]
We have for consideration the narrow question as to whether, under the provisions of the School Reorganization Act of 1963 (Act of August 8, 1963, P. L. 564, 24 PS § 2-290 et seq.), the State Board of Education has the power, in an appeal by a school district that considers itself aggrieved thereby, to review a plan of organization of administrative units prepared by a county board of school directors and approved by the Council of Basic Education. We are not concerned with the merits of the plan approved and particularly we are not concerned with whether it is wise or unwise for the State Board of Education to have such power. We are concerned only with the language of the act itself. Although the present appeal concerns only a few school districts in Adams and York Counties, it affects school districts throughout the entire state*fn1 and the interest in it is so widespread that briefs in the nature of amici curiae were filed on behalf of 46 other school districts, some supporting the appellee and some supporting the appellant.
The background for the present appeal is as follows: On May 21, 1964 the Adams County Board of School Directors, pursuant to the School Reorganization Act of 1963, adopted a Plan for the Reorganization of School Districts in Adams County, which provided for six administrative units. On June 22, 1964, the plan was transmitted by the Adams County Board to the Council of Basic Education. On July 8, 1964, the Council of Basic Education approved the aforesaid
[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 413]
plan in the form submitted by the Adams County Board of School Directors. Thereafter, the school districts of East Berlin Borough, Mount Pleasant Township and Straban Township appealed to the State Board from the approval of the plan by the Council of Basic Education, contending that the plan should be amended to provide a single administrative unit for Adams County.
McSherrystown Borough School District also appealed to the State Board from the approval of the plan by the Council, contending that it should be established as a separate administrative unit within the Adams County Plan.
The Conewago Township School District also appealed, contending that it should be released from the Adams County Plan and assigned to the York County Plan as part of the Hanover Borough administrative unit.
The York County Board of School Directors had also adopted and submitted to the Council of Basic Education a Plan of School Reorganization for York County, whereby Hanover Borough School District was designated as Administrative Unit 63-5 of the York County Plan. The York County Plan was approved by the Council of Basic Education on January 8, 1964. Thereafter, the Hanover Borough School District appealed to the State Board from the approval by the Council of the York County Plan, contending that the Conewago Township and McSherrystown Borough School Districts of Adams County should be joined with the Hanover Borough School District as an administrative unit under the York County plan.
Because of their interrelationship, all of the aforementioned appeals were consolidated for hearing before the State Board which was held on November 4, 1964.
On March 11, 1965, the State Board entered orders in the various appeals by which it (a) Sustained the
[ 209 Pa. Super. Page 414]
appeals of East Berlin Borough, Mount Pleasant Township and Straban Township School Districts of Adams County, and in each case directed the Council of Basic Education to approve the Adams County Plan in an amended form, assigning all school districts of the county, with the exception of the Conewago Township and McSherrystown Borough districts, to a single administrative unit to be known as 63-1, and releasing and assigning the school districts of Conewago Township and McSherrystown Borough to Administrative Unit 63-5 of the York County Plan.
(b) Sustained the appeal of Conewago Township School District and directed that it and McSherrystown Borough School District be assigned ...