Appeal from the award of an arbitrator in case of Fairview Education Association in behalf of Linda Darling and Linda Standera v. Fairview School District.
Donald C. Buseck, with him Gary V. Skiba, and Quinn, Gent, Buseck & Leemhuis, Inc., for appellant.
George Levin, with him Shamp, Levin, Arduini & Hain, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson.
[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 367]
This is an appeal from the award of an arbitrator reinstating two temporary professional employees of appellant to their positions with reimbursement for loss of wages. We resubmit the matter to the arbitrator.
The two employees were hired as teachers in September 1974. Because of an alleged decline in student enrollment, appellant decided to terminate certain staff positions in May 1975. Appellant had not, however, maintained a system of efficiency rating cards
[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 368]
to determine the order of suspension pursuant to Section 1125(a) of the Public School Code of 1949.*fn1 Instead, appellant attempted to satisfy the statute by rating each employee possibly affected by the proposed terminations as "satisfactory" and then terminating the contracts of the two employees*fn2 on the basis of their alleged lack of seniority in their respective teaching areas.*fn3
Prior to the terminations, appellant and appellee had entered into both a "Recognition Agreement" (in 1971) and a "Contractual Agreement" (in 1974).*fn4 Appellee filed a grievance on behalf of the two employees, alleging that the terminations came within a provision of the "Recognition Agreement" which stated that:
No teacher shall be disciplined, reprimanded, reduced in rank or compensation or deprived of any professional advantage without just cause. Any such action asserted by the Board, or any agent or representative thereof, shall be subject to the adopted grievance procedure.*fn5
[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 369]
Appellant denied the grievance after a hearing. Appellant decided that the parties were operating under the "Contractual Agreement" at the time the grievances were filed, and such "Contractual Agreement" defined "grievance" only as a "claim by a professional employee(s) that there has been a violation, misinterpretation or misapplication of this agreement." (Emphasis added.)*fn6 The "Recognition Agreement" was, therefore, held to provide no grievance procedure. Appellee requested that the matter be adjudicated under the Local Agency Law*fn7 but appellant refused, claiming that remaining steps in the contractual grievance procedure were adequate. Appellee then filed a complaint in equity in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas to require ...