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HARRY H. SAKAL v. SCHOOL DISTRICT STO-ROX (06/13/75)

decided: June 13, 1975.

HARRY H. SAKAL, APPELLANT,
v.
THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF STO-ROX, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Harry H. Sakal v. The School District of Sto-Rox, No. 2187 October Term, 1972.

COUNSEL

Ronald N. Watzman, with him Watzman, Levenson & Snyder, for appellant.

Alfred C. Maiello, for appellee.

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

Author: Wilkinson

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 640]

This case involves the dismissal of appellant from the position of an elementary principal of appellee school district. If appellant was entitled to tenure in this position, it is admitted that the procedure for dismissing a tenured professional employee was not followed. The issue is, therefore, was the appellant a tenured employee? The lower court found he was not, and found that he was not entitled to demand reinstatement. We find that he was and must reverse the lower court.

Appellant had acquired tenure status in the McKees Rocks School District. When that District merged with the Stowe Township School District, appellant became Superintendent, an untenured position. He served in that capacity until 1970, at which time he was not reelected Superintendent, but was elected to the position from which he was dismissed two years later. The determination of the status of this position which he occupied for two years controls this case.*fn1

The resolution which the Board passed electing appellant to this position stated:

"Motion by Mr. Dzadony second by Mr. Halupa to elect Harry Sakal as an assistant elementary principal for a period of one year effective July 1, 1970 at a salary of $14,000."

[ 19 Pa. Commw. Page 641]

However, the contract that was presented to appellant for signature and which was appropriately executed by both appellant and appellee, was the standard form of contract provided by the School Code for a professional employee designated as elementary principal. Section 1121 of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. ยง 11-1121.

It is quite clear from the record that the duties appellant performed were those of an elementary principal. Without any further Board action, other than the action raising his salary, appellant stayed on in the same position at an increased salary after the one year expired. The resolution dismissing him provided:

"The chair requested motion to terminate the contract of Mr. Harry Sakal as elementary principal, basis that he was hired at the will of the Board. Mr. Mollica so moved, second by Mr. Sevcik. Mr. DiVecchio questioned the legal legality of this act, and the solicitor advised that the time Mr. Sakal was hired the motion specifically stated was being hired for one year. He was kept on afterwards on a month-to-month basis. He further stated that when a contract is in variance with the resolution, it becomes invalid, as it is in this case. Mr. Bencho asked that Mr. ...


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