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HAZLETON AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. STATE BOARD EDUCATION COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT EDUCATION COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA AND JOHN C. PITTENGER (11/10/75)

decided: November 10, 1975.

HAZLETON AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, VALLEY EDUCATIONAL FUND ASSOCIATION AND HAZLETON TAXPAYERS' ASSOCIATION, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA; DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA; AND JOHN C. PITTENGER, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEFENDANTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Hazleton Area School District, Valley Fund Association, and Hazleton Taxpayers' Association, Plaintiffs v. State Board of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and John C. Pittenger, Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

COUNSEL

Anthony J. Ciotola, for plaintiff, School District.

Philip F. Hudock, for plaintiff, Fund Association.

James S. Palermo, for plaintiff, Taxpayers' Association.

Norman J. Watkins, Deputy Attorney General, with him Lawrence Silver, Deputy Attorney General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for defendants.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 548]

Hazleton Area School District is a school district of the second class located in the southern portion of Luzerne County and contains within its boundaries portions of Carbon and Schuylkill Counties. It encompasses six boroughs, nine townships, and the City of Hazleton. This school district was reorganized to contain its present

[ 21 Pa. Commw. Page 549]

    complement of municipalities on July 1, 1966 as part of a statewide reorganization of school districts.

On May 23, 1974, the Board of School Directors of the Hazleton Area School District adopted a resolution to take all necessary steps to reorganize the school district into smaller administrative units. This resolution resulted because the members of the Board believed that such a reorganization would accelerate the progress of education in the school district and better meet the needs of the students.

Pursuant to this resolution, the directors developed various proposed reorganization plans which were submitted to the defendants. On November 21, 1974, the Secretary of Education advised the school district that neither the State Board of Education nor the Department of Education had any statutory authority to effectuate the proposed school district reorganization and therefore there would be no consideration given or action taken on the submitted proposal for reorganization.

On January 28, 1975, Hazleton Area School District and two taxpayers' associations, Valley Educational Fund Association and Hazleton Taxpayers' Association, filed a complaint in equity in this Court, in which the State Board of Education, the Department of Education, and the Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth are the defendants.

The plaintiffs' complaint seeks to have this Court order the defendants to accept and administratively act upon the reorganization proposals submitted by the school district or, if it is determined that the defendants lack the requisite authority to presently reorganize school districts, to have this Court proceed to accomplish the desired reorganization. The ...


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