Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas for the 17th Judicial District, Union County Branch, in case of Charles F. Dock, Owen T. Anderson, Jacob R. Snyder and Elmer E. Stahl v. Board of School Directors of the Mifflinburg Area School District, No. 1 Equity, 1972.
Robert W. Barton, with him John D. Killian, Paul E. Johnson and Killian & Gephart, for appellant.
Paul W. Brann, with him A. Thomas Wilson, for appellees.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by President Judge Bowman.
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 173]
This is an appeal by the Board of School Directors of the Mifflinburg Area School District (MASD) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of the 17th Judicial District (Union County Branch) enjoining MASD from denying to students residing in Buffalo Township the option of attending high school in either the MASD or the Lewisburg Area School District.
Buffalo Township lies between the Borough of Lewisburg to the west and the Borough of Mifflinburg to the east. It is now within the geographical boundaries of MASD, the appellant school district. Prior to 1952 Buffalo Township comprised a separate school district. As a result of its unique geographical location between two boroughs, its school district in 1952 became a part of the Western Area Jointure for grades 1 through 12 and a part of Eastern Area Jointure for grades 7 through 12. As an element of these jointure agreements, students residing in Buffalo Township had the choice of attending either the Western Area Jointure or the Eastern Area Jointure of which Lewisburg Secondary Jointure was a part for their education as to grades 7 through 12.
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 174]
In 1963 the Legislature extensively amended the Public School Code of 1949, by the Act of August 8, 1963, P.L. 564, 24 P.S. § 2-290 et seq., which Act required the reorganization of school districts into larger administrative units thereby encouraging more efficient administration of the public school system of the Commonwealth.
The genesis of the dispute in the instant case lies in the reorganization of the school districts within Union County as mandated by said Act. At the time such reorganization was mandated there were fourteen school districts within Union County, each with the power, authority and autonomy school districts then enjoyed subject to any jointure agreements then in force. Thirteen of the boards of these school districts favored a two-unit reorganization plan along the lines theretofore established by jointure agreements while Buffalo Township School District favored a county-wide one-unit reorganization plan. The record before us does not disclose the procedures followed by the county board of school directors of Union County and its constituent school districts in compliance with Section 292 of the Code, hereinafter discussed.
The record does disclose, however, that Buffalo Township School District on January 20, 1964, adopted a resolution announcing its position that it favored a one-unit reorganization plan but recognizing that all other districts favored a two-unit system, that its opposition to a two-unit system would delay reorganization and after "considering all of the circumstances" agreed to the two-unit plan, and that it become a part of the Western Area unit with the proviso that after reorganization the Western Area unit of which it would be a part "afford to all secondary school pupils in Buffalo Township the right and privilege to attend the Eastern Area Unit Secondary Schools on a tuition
[ 13 Pa. Commw. Page 175]
basis" to be paid for by the Western Area unit together with ...