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PATRICIA RYLKE v. PORTAGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (07/07/75)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: July 7, 1975.

PATRICIA RYLKE, WILLIAM RAMUS, JANET HUMPHREY, AND THE PORTAGE AREA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANTS,
v.
THE PORTAGE AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County in case of Patricia Rylke, William Ramus and Janet Humphrey, and the Portage Area Education Association v. Portage Area School District, No. 938 September Term, 1973.

COUNSEL

Randall C. Rodkey, with him Abood, Rodney & Eckel, for appellants.

Ferdinand F. Bionaz, with him Bionaz and Raptosh, for appellee.

William Fearen, with him Cleckner and Fearen, for amicus curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

Leonard M. Sagot, with him Thomas W. Jennings, Randall J. Sommovilla, and, of counsel, Teitelman, Sagot, Herring, Jennings & Luber for amicus curiae, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 159]

We have for consideration an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County sustaining preliminary objections in the nature of a demurrer filed by the Portage Area School District (appellee) to a complaint in mandamus filed by three individuals, professional employees of appellee, and the Portage Area Educational Association (Association), who are the appellants here.*fn1

The Association is the certified bargaining representative for the professional employees of appellee and entered into a collective bargaining agreement with appellee for the period of July 1, 1971 to June 30, 1973. On or about May 23, 1973, the individual appellants were notified in writing that they were suspended effective the end of the 1972-73 school year. The suspension was made under the provisions of Section 1124 of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1124.*fn2

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 160]

Appellants' complaint in mandamus avers that the appellee is required under the terms of the agreement between the Association and appellee to submit the suspensions of the individual plaintiffs to binding arbitration. Appellee refused to do so. The agreement in question here provides in pertinent part as follows:

"VIII. Job Security and Job Progression

" The Pennsylvania School Code includes certain job security provisions, certification, and other regulatory provisions associated with various classes of employes. The parties hereby aver that such provisions of the School Code represent their complete agreement and that said provisions shall govern the manner in which the job security, job progression, and reduction in force practices shall be effected with respect to members of the bargaining unit.

"In the event that additional provisions not inconsistent or in conflict with those enumerated in the School Code shall be agreed upon by the parties with respect to job security, job progression, and reduction in force, such provisions shall be made a part of

[ 20 Pa. Commw. Page 161]

Appendix C which shall be made part of this agreement."

We must conclude that the learned lower court was totally correct when it stated:

"The language of this section is clear and unambiguous. It provides the parties are in 'complete agreement,' that provisions of the [Public School Code of 1949] 'shall govern the manner in which the job security, job progression, and reduction in force practices shall be effected. . . .' That this was the intent of the section is evident in its concluding paragraph, which states that additional provisions 'not inconsistent or in conflict' with Code provisions, upon agreement shall be made part of Appendix C. A review of Appendix C indicates no provision had been included relating to reduction in force practices. Thus, Section VIII prevails, and the reduction in force resulting in the suspension of the three plaintiffs is properly made under Sections 1124 and 1125 of the Code [24 P.S. §§ 11 -- 1124 to -- 1125]."

According, the appellants' complaint in mandamus*fn3 fails to state a cause of action and appellee is not obligated to submit the suspension questioned here to the grievance and binding arbitration procedures provided for under the collective bargaining agreement.

Order affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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