Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Donald Stets v. McKeesport Area School District, No. SA 354 of 1974.
George B. Stegenga, for appellant.
Lewis J. Nescott, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer and Mencer, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 404]
This is an appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County affirming the action of the Board of School Directors (Board) of the McKeesport Area School District (District) upholding the suspension of Donald Stets (appellant), a professional employee. Mr. Stets was suspended from his job as an industrial arts teacher because of a decrease in enrollment.
Many school districts throughout the Commonwealth are currently being faced with decreasing enrollments. In response, the school boards, unfortunately, must often reduce their staffs. The Public School Code of 1949
[ 22 Pa. Commw. Page 405]
(Code)*fn1 provides a procedure to be followed under those circumstances. Section 1125 of the Code (24 P.S. § 11-1125) provides in relevant part:
"(a) Whenever a board of school directors decreases the size of the staff of professional employes, the suspensions to be made shall be determined by the district superintendent on the basis of efficiency rank determined by ratings made in accordance with standards and regulations, determined by rating cards prepared by the Department of Public Instruction, as required by section one thousand one hundred twenty-three of this act. . . .
"(b) In cases in which suspensions are to be made, professional employes shall be retained on the basis of seniority rights, acquired within the school district of current employment, where no differences in rating are found. Seniority rights shall also prevail where there is no substantial difference in rating. In cases where there are substantial differences in rating of those under consideration for suspension, seniority shall be given consideration in accordance with principles and standards of weighting incorporated in the rating cards." (Emphasis added.)
The rating cards, currently known as DEBE-333 (5-72), are controlled by Section 1123 of the Code (24 P.S. § 11-1123):
"[T]he professional employe or temporary professional employe shall be rated by an approved rating system which shall give due consideration to personality, preparation, technique, and pupil reaction, in accordance with standards and regulations for such scoring as defined by rating cards to be prepared by the Department of Public ...