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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHARLEROI AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT (11/21/75)

decided: November 21, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
v.
CHARLEROI AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT



Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Appeal of Eleanor McCormick, a Professional Employee, from a decision of the Board of School Directors of the Charleroi Area School District, Washington County, Pennsylvania, No. 230.

COUNSEL

John E. Costello, with him Melvin B. Bassi, for appellant.

Edward A. Miller, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Kramer and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 57]

This is an appeal from an order of the Secretary of Education (Secretary), requiring the Board of School Directors (Board) of the Charleroi Area School District to reinstate Eleanor McCormick to the position of remedial reading supervisor without loss of pay.

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 58]

The facts in this case are not in dispute. Eleanor McCormick had been a teacher in the Charleroi Area School District for five years when, on August 26, 1966, she was appointed to the newly created position of reading specialist and remedial reading supervisor. She held this position until June 29, 1973, when she was advised that the position was being abolished and that she was being reassigned to a classroom as a teacher. The Board offered, and Miss McCormick requested, an opportunity to be heard pursuant to the provisions of the Public School Code of 1949 (School Code)*fn1 on her claim that her reassignment constituted a demotion. The Board accordingly scheduled a meeting on this issue for July 18, 1973 which was later rescheduled for July 25, 1973 by agreement of the parties.

At the July 25, 1973 meeting, Miss McCormick claimed that the reassignment constituted a demotion in type of position.*fn2 Her counsel then asked that a full hearing, with an impartial public stenographer, be held. His request was denied by the Board, which offered instead that a summary of the meeting would be prepared by a board member. Neither side would relinquish its position, and the meeting was adjourned without the presenting of any testimony by either side.

Miss McCormick appealed the denial of a hearing by the Board to the Secretary. The Secretary found against the Board, and the Board appeals to this Court.

The precise question here is whether a professional employee who claims that she has been demoted in type of position without her consent is entitled to a hearing recorded by an impartial public stenographer. We find that she is entitled to such a hearing.

[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 59]

The law in this regard is clear: If Miss McCormick is a professional employee within the meaning of the School Code, then she is entitled to a hearing if she is demoted in either salary or type of ...


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