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HELEN M. SPANO v. SCHOOL DISTRICT BOROUGH BRENTWOOD (03/07/74)

decided: March 7, 1974.

HELEN M. SPANO, APPELLANT,
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE BOROUGH OF BRENTWOOD, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Appeal of Helen M. Spano, a Professional Employee, from a Decision of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, No. A-1860 of 1968.

COUNSEL

Eugene J. Reinbold, with him Beck, McGinnis & Jarvis, for appellant.

Thomas M. Rutter, Jr., with him Goehring, Rutter & Boehm, for appellee.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 12 Pa. Commw. Page 172]

This is an appeal from an Opinion and Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dismissing Helen Spano as a professional employee on the ground of persistent and willful violation of the School Laws of this Commonwealth.

On August 1, 1966, Appellant began work as a "curriculum coordinator" with the Brentwood School District (School District). On November 7, 1966, she was called before the School Board, at which time she was asked to resign. She refused to do so and continued her duties as "curriculum coordinator" until she was suspended on April 20, 1967.

Charges of incompetency and persistent and willful violation of the school laws were leveled against Appellant on September 12, 1967, by Appellee School District and subsequently, nineteen separate hearing sessions were held by the School Board and voluminous testimony was compiled on these charges. On April 16, 1968, the School Board voted to sustain the charge and dismiss Appellant.

Appellant filed a timely appeal with the Superintendent of Public Instruction in accordance with Section 1131 of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, Art. XI, as amended, 24 P.S. ยง 11-1131. After argument, the Superintendent of Public Instruction determined (1) that Spano was a "professional employee" as that term is defined by the Public School Code of 1949; (2) that the incompetency charge against Spano was without merit, and (3) that she was properly dismissed by the School District for persistent and willful violations of the School Laws of Pennsylvania.

Thereafter, Spano filed an appeal with the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. A counter-appeal was also filed by the School District questioning

[ 12 Pa. Commw. Page 173]

    findings of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

After argument, the Honorable Charles D. McCarthy, by an Opinion and Order dated April 11, 1969, sustained Spano's appeal and dismissed the counter-appeal of the School District, holding that Spano had not received a fair and unbiased hearing by the School Board. The School Board then appealed Judge McCarthy's decision to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania which subsequently vacated Judge McCarthy's Order and remanded the record, affording Spano the opportunity to request a hearing de novo before the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County.*fn1 Spano thereafter filed her request for a hearing de ...


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