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WALTER BOEHM v. BOARD EDUCATION SCHOOL DISTRICT PITTSBURGH (06/09/77)

decided: June 9, 1977.

WALTER BOEHM, PETITIONER
v.
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PITTSBURGH, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Walter A. Boehm, Jr. v. The Board of Public Education of the School District of Pittsburgh, Teacher Tenure Appeal No. 248.

COUNSEL

John A. Bacharach, with him Eugene P. Girman, and Girman & Del Sole, for petitioner.

Persifor S. Oliver, Jr., Assistant Solicitor, with him Justin M. Johnson, Solicitor, for respondent.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 469]

This is an appeal by Walter Boehm from an order of the Secretary of Education which sustained his dismissal by the Board of Education of the City of Pittsburgh.

Boehm was a tenured professional employe of the Pittsburgh School District when, in March of 1973, he officially assumed the additional position of Treasurer of the Fifth Avenue High School Activities Fund at the high school where he was then assigned. In March of 1974, the books and records relating to the Fund were audited and it was discovered that: (1) a ledger entry which indicated a cash deposit of $1,000 in a savings account was false; and (2) Boehm was unable to locate the savings account passbook. He received a statement of charges from, and hearings before, the Pittsburgh School Board, which subsequently dismissed him for persistent negligence, as provided in Section 1122 of the Public School Code of 1949*fn1 (Code), 24 P.S. § 11-1122, inter alia, as follows:

[ 30 Pa. Commw. Page 470]

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. . . . (Emphasis added.)

The Secretary of Education sustained the dismissal, and this appeal followed.

Boehm first argues that some of the school directors were not present at the hearings where evidence was presented and that they were barred from voting on the question of dismissal.*fn2 He also argues that the evidence presented at the hearings should not have been considered when the Board voted his dismissal because the Board did not have a quorum present. Addressing ourselves to the second part of this first argument, we note that Section 422 of the Code, 24 P.S. § 4-422, provides, inter alia, as follows:

A majority of the members of a board of school directors shall be a quorum. If less than a majority is present at any meeting, no business ...


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