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PENNSYLVANIA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION ET AL. v. BALDWIN WHITEHALL SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL. (04/29/77)

decided: April 29, 1977.

PENNSYLVANIA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION ET AL., PETITIONERS
v.
BALDWIN WHITEHALL SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Original jurisdiction in case of Pennsylvania State Education Association, Baldwin Whitehall Education Association, Ann Clarke, Alma Gorse, Bette Linhart and John Stone v. Baldwin Whitehall School District.

COUNSEL

Richard Kirschner, with him Neal Goldstein, for petitioners.

Robert P. Meehan, Deputy Counsel, with him Lester Eisenstadt, Deputy Attorney General and Chief Counsel, Edward R. Lawrence, Jr., and Lawrence & Lawrence, for respondents.

Michael I. Levin, with him William Fearen, and Cleckner & Fearen, for amicus curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.

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

Author: Blatt

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 150]

The plaintiffs*fn1 have filed a Petition for Review within the original jurisdiction of this Court requesting a determination of the legality of a provision of

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 151]

    the collective bargaining agreement entered into by the Baldwin Whitehall Education Association and the Baldwin Whitehall School District. The provision in question is Article X of the agreement, and is entitled "Other Employee Benefits." It provides in part as follows:

C. Retirement Allowance

1. An employee who retires on or after attaining the age of superannuation as established by the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System shall be entitled to receive as additional compensation payable at the time of retirement an amount computed by multiplying the number of such employees' unused accumulated sick days up to a maximum of 150 such days by:

     a. $20.00 for the 1975-76 school term

     b. $22.50 for the 1976-77 school term

     c. $25.00 for the 1977-78 school term

2. In order to be eligible to receive retirement allowance, an employee must:

     a. have completed at least 10 years of service with the district;

     and

     b. have completed at least 20 years service as a professional employee with the district and/or another school system.

3. Except in emergencies, an employee shall not receive retirement allowance unless he or she notified the Superintendent in writing of the intention to retire and the date of projected retirement at least 45 days prior to that date. Said notice shall not be required in the case of a mandatory retirement or a retirement that becomes effective after the close of school in the spring but prior to August 1.

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 152]

The individual plaintiffs claim entitlement to a retirement allowance pursuant to this provision, and the defendant Auditor General has filed an answer alleging as new matter that "cash payment to professional employees upon retirement based upon accumulated, unused sick leave is a violation of the Public School Code of 1949" and "that provisions of collective bargaining agreements containing payment structures of this type run afoul of Section 703 of the Public Employe Relations Act . . . and are, therefore, void." The defendant Baldwin Whitehall School District has also filed an answer contending that it is a mere stake holder in this controversy and that it recognizes its duty both to pay the retirement allowance provided in the contract and to obey the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Because there are no issues of material fact to be resolved, the plaintiffs have filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and we, therefore, are concerned here with the following legal issue, as framed by the defendant Auditor General:

Whether a school board has the authority, prerogative, or discretion to agree to and implement a collective bargaining agreement providing for payments to retiring teachers computed ...


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