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ARISTOTELES J. THEROS v. WARWICK BOARD SCHOOL DIRECTORS (04/26/79)

decided: April 26, 1979.

ARISTOTELES J. THEROS, APPELLANT
v.
WARWICK BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lancaster County in case of Aristoteles J. Theros v. Warwick Board of School Directors, Trust Book 44, Page 6.

COUNSEL

Gerald E. Ruth, for appellant.

David E. Wagenseller, III, with him Shirk, Reist and Buckwalter, for appellee.

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

Author: Mencer

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 297]

Aristoteles J. Theros (Theros) is a tenured professional employe of Warwick School District, situate in Lancaster County. He is certified only as a business education teacher. The Board of School Directors of Warwick School District (School Board), in an effort to reduce a projected budget deficit, abolished the positions of head of the Business Education Department and Director of Athletics. The former head of the Business Education Department and the former Director of Athletics, each of whom had spent half time teaching business education subjects and half time in their respective administrative positions, which were not mandated positions, were to return

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 298]

    to full-time teaching in the Business Education Department. As a result, the department had a total of six full-time business education teachers, including Theros, making one excess full-time teacher in this department.

All six of the business education teachers were certified to teach only business education. They were evaluated according to the provisions of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 1-101 et seq., and the requirements of the Department of Education. Theros was found to be the teacher with the lowest quality rating and the lowest total rating. On July 6, 1976, the School Board reviewed all of the rating information of the business education teachers and placed Theros on suspension. At the same time, the School Board authorized the Superintendent as its agent to notify the Department of Education of the entire procedure. Theros was given appropriate notice by the School Board that he would be suspended, effective September 8, 1976. Subsequently, Theros requested a hearing under the Local Agency Law, Act of December 2, 1968, P.L. 1133, formerly 53 P.S. § 11301 et seq., repealed by Section 2(a) of the Judiciary Act Repealer Act, Act of April 28, 1978, P.L. 202. A hearing was held on August 18, 1976, at which he was represented by counsel. The School Board made findings of fact and conclusions of law and affirmed the suspension of Theros from his position as a professional employe in the School District, effective as of September 8, 1976.

The record of the hearing and the exhibits comprised of letters which were offered as joint exhibits of Theros and the School Board show that the suspension of Theros was not based on a substantial decrease in pupil enrollment nor was the abolishment of the positions of Athletic Director and head of the

[ 42 Pa. Commw. Page 299]

Business Education Department a curtailment or alteration of the educational program of the School District. It was also stipulated that Theros does not dispute that, if a teacher in the Business Education Department were to be suspended, assuming that the School Board had the authority to take this action because of budgetary constraints, Theros was the appropriate teacher of the six certified teachers in the Business Education Department to be suspended.

Theros does not contend that the School Board acted in suspending him for any political or arbitrary reasons. Theros argues that the School Board failed to establish a cause of suspension under Section 1124 ...


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