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LAKELAND JOINT SCHOOL DISTRICT v. GILVARY (11/09/71)

decided: November 9, 1971.

LAKELAND JOINT SCHOOL DISTRICT
v.
GILVARY



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County, No. 978 September Term, 1970, in case of Lakeland Joint School District, Lackawanna County v. William R. Gilvary.

COUNSEL

Paul H. Price, with him Oliver, Price and Rhodes, for appellant.

John R. Lenahan, with him Lenahan, Dempsey & McDonald and Charles S. Delaney, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Manderino, Mencer and Rogers. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson. Concurring Opinion by Judge Kramer. Judge Crumlish joins in this concurrence.

Author: Wilkinson

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 416]

This case involves the claim, under the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, Art. XI, Section 1151, as amended, 24 P.S. ยง 11-1151, of the appellant to the position of principal of the Scott School from which he was removed and subsequently reassigned to teach in the Mayfield Junior High School building. On July 1, 1968, appellant was supervising principal of the Scott Township School System when it became a part of the Lakeland Joint School District. In anticipation of the amalgamation, Lakeland Joint School District had a special organization committee

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 417]

    which, on June 3, 1968, had recommended that the supervising principal of Lakeland be selected as supervising principal of the new jointure. It recommended further that the Scott building be in the charge of a head teacher and recommended an individual for this position who was teaching at Scott.*fn1 Finally, the organization committee recommended that the appellant, there being no position of supervising principal or principal vacant in the jointure, be reassigned as a classroom teacher. All of these recommendations were approved and adopted by the Board at its meeting August 28, 1968. The appellant was assigned to Mayfield School where a teaching vacancy existed in a subject area for which he was certificated.

Appellant filed a complaint in assumpsit against the School District of Scott Township in the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County to recover the difference in his former salary as supervising principal and his current salary as a teacher. Preliminary objections were sustained, the court pointing out to appellant that he should pursue the administrative process providing for a hearing before the Board with appropriate appeals therefrom. Gilvary v. School District of Scott Township, 71 Lackawanna Jurist 105 (1970). On March 26, 1969, the Board held a hearing under the provisions of Section 1151 of the School Code of 1949, supra, apparently under what it considered to be the directions of the court when it dismissed the complaint.

[ 3 Pa. Commw. Page 418]

A careful review of the evidence offered at the Board hearing does not reveal any derogatory evidence against appellant or the Board in the performance of their respective functions other than perhaps appellant stating that improvements that were made in the Scott School District were effected by him as supervising principal and not by the directors: "These are some of the improvements that were made in the school during my term as supervising principal. Now, it is up to the School Board to approve these, but you do not get improvements in a school unless the supervising principal is the force behind them. Generally, directors come to the school maybe once a month and, maybe, twice a month, and they don't know the conditions. These are some of the improvements that we carried on." Record at 53a-54a. The Board's decision was to approve its prior action.

Appellant filed a Petition for Appeal with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, now Secretary of Education. The Secretary of Education, acting through his representative, held a hearing on August 12, 1969, and reversed the decision of the Board, directing that appellant be restored to the position of principal of the Scott School. The necessary implication of the decision was that the Board re-establish the position of principal. The Secretary did this because no evidence had been offered to prove that either the Educational Committee or the School Board consulted the supervising principal or any other educator in its district prior to its action. The opinion relies on Alberts v. ...


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