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SWIFT v. ABINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT AND PHILADELPHIA COUNCIL FOR COMMUNITY ADVANCEMENT (12/06/72)

decided: December 6, 1972.

SWIFT
v.
ABINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT AND PHILADELPHIA COUNCIL FOR COMMUNITY ADVANCEMENT, INTERVENOR



Appeal from the Amended Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, in case of In Re: Abington School District -- Private Sale of Real Estate, No. 71-11023.

COUNSEL

Eugene M. Schloss, Jr., with him Rappeport, Magil, Schulman and Schloss, for appellant.

Charles B. Burr, II, with him Donald A. Gallager and Waters, Fleer, Cooper & Gallager, for appellee.

Richard Max Bockol, with him Goodis, Greenfield, Henry, Shaiman & Levin, for intervenor.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Rogers. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Rogers

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 27]

This is an appeal from a final decree of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County approving the private sale of real estate of a public school district.

Abington School District petitioned the court below for approval of the private sale of an unused and unnecessary building and lot pursuant to Section 707(3) of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 7-707(3). At the scheduled hearing the appellant, James Swift, appeared without counsel and objected to the proposed sale. He claimed that the School District could obtain a higher price than the $35,000 offered and objected to the use, unstated on the record, to which he believed the proposed purchaser, Philadelphia Council for Community Advancement, would put the property. The hearing judge patiently and correctly advised Swift of the purpose of the hearing and the court's function and invited Swift to make an offer for the property. Swift offered on behalf of himself and four other persons, none of whom were present, the sum of $35,500. He had no hand money but stated: "I'm quite sure I could call my bank and they could certify that I have a sufficient

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 28]

    amount of cash." In response to the judge's expression of willingness to entertain a higher offer provided the purchasers were immediately available with earnest money in hand, Swift answered: "I would have to have some time . . . Mr. Dickerson [an asserted co-purchaser] is presently in Cleveland, Mr. Friend [another alleged member of the venture] is presently in Virginia on business. I would say a couple of days. It would be impossible to do it today."

Section 7-707 of the Public School Code, 24 P.S. § 7-707, in pertinent part, reads: "The board of school directors of any district is hereby vested with the necessary power and authority to sell unused and unnecessary lands and buildings, by any of the following methods and subject to the following provisions: (1) By public auction . . . (2) Upon sealed bids . . . (3) At private sale, subject to the approval of the court of common pleas of the county in which the school district is located. Approval of the court shall be on petition of the board of school directors, which petition shall be executed by the proper officers of the board, and shall contain a full and complete description of the land proposed to be sold, a brief description and character of the building or buildings erected thereon, if any, the name of the prospective purchaser, the amount offered for the property, and shall have attached thereto an affidavit of at least two persons who are familiar with the values of real estate in the locality in which the land and buildings proposed to be sold are located, to the effect that they have examined the property, that the price offered therefor is a fair and reasonable one and in their opinion a better price than could be obtained at public sale, and that they are not interested, either directly or indirectly, in the purchase or sale thereof. Before the court may act upon any such petition it shall fix a time for a hearing thereon and shall direct that public notice thereof be

[ 7 Pa. Commw. Page 29]

    given as provided in clause (1) of this section. A return of sale shall be made to the court after the sale has been ...


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