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JOHN ACITELLI v. WESTMONT HILLTOP SCHOOL DISTRICT (09/20/74)

decided: September 20, 1974.

JOHN ACITELLI, APPELLANT,
v.
WESTMONT HILLTOP SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County in case of John Acitelli v. Westmont Hilltop School District, Nos. 951 September Term, 1972, and 388 September Term, 1973.

COUNSEL

William K. Eckel, with him Abood, Rodkey & Eckel, for appellant.

Wayne G. Wolfe, with him Spence, Custer, Saylor, Wolfe & Rose, for appellee.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. President Judge Bowman did not participate. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 15 Pa. Commw. Page 216]

John Acitelli (Acitelli), the appellant, did not have his teaching contract renewed by the Westmont Hilltop School District after he had received an unsatisfactory rating for the last semester of his two-year employment at the Westmont Hilltop Junior High School. He appealed the action taken by the District School Board (Board) to the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, which affirmed the Board's action, and he has now appealed to this Court.

Acitelli had been originally employed under the classification of "temporary professional employe," as defined in Section 1101(3) of The Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1101(3).*fn1 He was to teach Spanish for the 1970-71 school year.*fn2 He continued teaching under an extended contract during the 1971-72 school year. For both semesters of the 1970-71 school year and for the first semester of the 1971-72 year, his services were rated satisfactory under the procedures prescribed by

[ 15 Pa. Commw. Page 217]

Section 1123 of The Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. § 11.1123. He received an unsatisfactory rating, however, for the second semester of the 1971-72 school year and he was thereupon notified by the chief school administrator that his contract would not be renewed. He was thus denied the opportunity to gain tenure as a "professional employe." Section 1108(b) of The Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. § 11-1108(b).*fn3

Acitelli requested a hearing before the Board, which was refused. He then appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County demanding such a proceeding pursuant to the Local Agency Law, Act of Dec. 2, 1968, P.L. 1133, § 4, 53 P.S. § 11304, and a hearing was ordered by the court. When the hearing opened on March 23, 1973, testimony was taken before six members of the nine-man Board, and seven members of the Board concluded the hearing at a session on April 12, 1973.

On June 18, 1973, six members of the Board met and voted unanimously to affirm the administrator's decision to refuse renewal of Acitelli's teaching contract. Of those voting, three members had attended both hearing sessions, two had attended only the second session, and one had not attended either session. An

[ 15 Pa. Commw. Page 218]

    adjudication was issued, which contained the Board's findings of fact and legal reasons supporting its decision. Thereafter, pursuant to Section 7 of the Local Agency Law, 53 P.S. § 11307, Acitelli again appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County, which, ...


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