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WEST SHORE SCHOOL DISTRICT v. MICHAEL HOMICK AND WEST SHORE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (03/09/76)

decided: March 9, 1976.

WEST SHORE SCHOOL DISTRICT
v.
MICHAEL HOMICK AND WEST SHORE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANTS



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County in case of Michael Homick and West Shore Education Association v. West Shore School District, No. 289 September Term, 1974.

COUNSEL

Gerald E. Ruth, for appellant.

Harold E. Sheely, for appellee.

Lillian Gaskin, Deputy Attorney General, with her Vincent Yakowicz, Solicitor General, and Robert P. Kane, Attorney General, for amicus curiae, Commonwealth.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt. Judge Rogers joins in this dissent.

Author: Mencer

[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 616]

On April 4, 1974, the Board of School Directors of the West Shore School District (Board) refused Michael Homick (Homick), a teacher and President of the West Shore Education Association (Association), permission to inspect his personnel records.*fn1 Homick and the Association filed an appeal from the Board's refusal to the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland County, which court, by order dated December 10, 1974, dismissed that appeal. This present appeal followed and we affirm.

We note initially a very important aspect of this case; namely, that Homick only contends that his right to inspect his personnel records arises under the provisions of

[ 23 Pa. Commw. Page 617]

    the act commonly known as the "Right-to-Know Law."*fn2 Therefore, the narrow issue is whether or not Homick's personnel records constitute a public record under the Right-to-Know Law.*fn3 If they do, then the Board must permit Homick the opportunity to inspect and make copies of these records.*fn4 We are not called on to determine what, if any, private or common law right a public school teacher has to inspect his personnel file. See Wiley v. Woods, 393 Pa. 341, 141 A.2d 844 (1958).

The Right-to-Know Law defines a public record, in Section 1 of the Act, 65 P.S. ยง 66.1(2), as follows:

"(2) 'Public Record.' Any account, voucher or contract dealing with the receipt or disbursement of funds by an agency or its acquisition, use or disposal of services or of supplies, materials, equipment or other property and any minute, order or decision by an agency fixing the personal or property rights, privileges, immunities, duties or obligations of any person or group of persons : Provided, That the term 'public records' shall not mean any report, communication or other paper, the publication of which would disclose the institution, progress or result of an investigation ...


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