Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County in case of Louis Marco v. Montgomery County Intermediate Unit No. 23, No. 75-15091.
Richard W. Rogers, with him Rogers, King & Cole, for appellant.
Philip Salkin, with him Pearlstine, Salkin, Hardiman & Robinson, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and DiSalle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge DiSalle.
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 518]
This case involves an appeal of an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, dated July 9, 1976. The order dismissed Louis Marco's (Marco) appeal of a determination by the Board of Directors for the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit No. 23 (Board), to suspend Marco from his position
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 519]
as an instructor at the Eastern Montgomery County Area Vocational Technical School.
Marco was employed on April 15, 1969, by the Eastern Montgomery County Area Vocational Technical School as an instructor of quantity foods in the school's food services department. He taught in this capacity without possessing state certification of any kind until July of 1971. At this time Marco was awarded vocational interim certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In May of 1973, the Department further awarded him a vocational instructional I certificate. From the commencement of his employment until his suspension, Marco's performance as a teacher was periodically rated and was deemed at all times to be satisfactory.
On May 20, 1975, the Board advised Marco by letter that due to the declining enrollment of pupils, he was to be suspended from his position.*fn1 On May 28, 1975, the Board's resolution of suspension was passed. Marco, however, maintained that he was not the one to be suspended, and he requested and was granted a hearing before the Board.*fn2 He argued at this hearing that other instructors within the school's food services department had less seniority than he and had acquired their initial certification subsequent to his. Specifically, he presented evidence which showed that Fern
[ 35 Pa. Commw. Page 520]
Renner was employed by the Intermediate Unit in September of 1969, and that she did not receive any type of state certification until September of 1971.*fn3 He also presented evidence that another instructor, Marilyn Sharer, was not hired by the Intermediate Unit until August of 1972 and acquired her initial certification in September of that same year.*fn4 Arguing that he had obtained his initial certification in 1971, upon the receipt of his vocational interim certificate, Marco contended that he had more seniority than either of these instructors and, therefore, had been improperly suspended.
The School District contended that the 1971 vocational interim certification should not have been issued to Marco. Testimony was presented to the effect that subsequent to the issuance of the interim certificate, it was discovered that he was unable to produce a high school degree or its equivalent. The District argued that possession of such a degree has always been a requirement prior to eligibility for vocational interim certification status. The basis for this argument is that prior to receipt of such certification an individual must have been properly enrolled at a regionally accredited college or university, and it is not possible to enroll in such an institution without first having graduated high school or its equivalent. Moreover, prior to the issuance of a vocational interim certificate to an ...