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EDGEWOOD BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT APPEAL (12/20/71)

decided: December 20, 1971.

EDGEWOOD BOROUGH SCHOOL DISTRICT APPEAL


Appeal from order of Superior Court, No. 379, April T., 1970, affirming order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Allegheny County, No. SA-560 of 1969, in re appeal of School District of Borough of Braddock Hills from organization of Administrative Unit No. 38 by the Borough of Edgewood.

COUNSEL

Robert A. Rundle, with him Wright & Rundle, for appellant.

John D. Killian, with him Killian & Gephart, for appellee.

Jones, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy and Barbieri, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Bell took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Roberts

[ 445 Pa. Page 345]

The Act of July 8, 1968, P. L. [ILLEGIBLE WORD], 24 P.S. ยงยง 2400.1 et seq. (Act 150), establishes a comprehensive three step procedure for the formulation and adoption of plans for school district reorganization. Initially, each county board of school directors is directed to prepare and submit such a plan to the State Board of Education. The State Board in turn reviews each plan and either approves or amends it. Finally, any school district which considers itself aggrieved by a plan approved by the State Board may appeal to the court of common pleas of the county where the school district is located.

The present appeal raises two issues: (1) whether there is any right of appeal from an order of the court of common pleas made pursuant to Act 150; and (2) whether the court of common pleas in this particular instance erred in rejecting the plan approved by the State Board. For reasons appearing below, we hold

[ 445 Pa. Page 346]

    that an appeal does lie from a decision of the court of common pleas and that the court of common pleas did err in the instant case.

The present appeal arises as follows: On October 7, 1968, the Allegheny County Board of School Directors adopted a plan of school district reorganization for Allegheny County and submitted it to the State Board of Education pursuant to Act 150. The plan provided, inter alia, for the creation of a Unit 38, comprised of the School Districts of the Boroughs of Swissvale and Braddock Hills, and a Unit 40, consisting of the School District of the Borough of Edgewood alone.

Although it had operated jointly with the Swissvale School District since 1965, the Braddock Hills School District petitioned the State Board of Education, requesting that proposed Units 38 and 40 be merged into one unit. The Edgewood School District was granted leave to intervene, and hearings were conducted by the State Board on February 11 and May 9, 1969. On the latter date, the State Board rendered an adjudication dismissing Braddock Hills' petition and approving separate Units 38 and 40 as established by the County Board.

On June 9, 1969, Braddock Hills appealed the State Board's decision to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, and Edgewood was again permitted to intervene. Upon motion of the State Board, Swissvale was joined as a necessary party but did not file any pleadings or otherwise participate in the proceedings. Instead, its counsel informed the court that Swissvale was neutral with respect to the challenged reorganization plan. Additional evidence was taken at a hearing held on March 16, 1970, and on June 1, 1970, the court of common ...


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