Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in the cases of Warren L. Langley v. Uniontown Area School District, Teachers Tenure Appeal No. 250, and Daniel F. Zack v. Uniontown Area School District, Teachers Tenure Appeal, No. 251.
L. W. Bailey, Jr., for appellants.
Herbert Margolis, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
This case involves the consolidated appeals of Warren Langley and Daniel Zack (appellants), who are professional employees of the Uniontown Area School District (District), from an order of the Secretary of Education (Secretary). The Secretary's order dismissed appellants' appeals from resolutions of the Uniontown Area School Board (Board) which terminated their employment contracts but delayed dismissal pending appeal.
A more detailed history of the events which resulted in this appeal may be found in the consolidated cases of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board v. Uniontown Area School District, 28 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 61, 367 A.2d 739 (1977).
The resolutions from which the appeals to the Secretary were taken decided, in effect, that appellants' failure to pay dues to the Uniontown Area Education Association (Association) pursuant to a "maintenance of membership" clause in the collective bargaining agreement between the District and the Association was a "persistent and wilful violation of the school laws" of the Commonwealth, which is a ground for dismissal under Section 1122 of the Public School Code of 1949.*fn1 Section 1122 provides in pertinent part:
The only valid causes for termination of a contract heretofore or hereafter entered into with a professional employe shall be immorality, incompetency, intemperance, cruelty, persistent negligence, mental derangement, advocation of or participating in un-American or subversive doctrines, persistent and wilful violation of the school laws of this Commonwealth on the part of the professional employe. . . .
Appellants filed a timely appeal to the Secretary under Section 1131 of the Code, 24 P.S. § 11-1131. The Association was granted leave to intervene, and a hearing was held before an examiner on January 31, 1975. By order dated April 7, 1976, the Secretary dismissed the appeals for want of jurisdiction. We believe that the Secretary misconceived the nature of the appeal before him, and we must reverse.
In reaching his conclusion, the Secretary reasoned that appellants were dismissed under Section 705 of the Public Employe Relations Act*fn2 (PERA), which provides in pertinent part:
Membership dues deductions and maintenance of membership are proper subjects of bargaining with the proviso that as to the latter, the payment of dues and assessments while members, ...