Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County in cases of Forest Hills School District v. Forest Hills Education Association, Nos. 1978-570 and 1978-958.
Gilbert E. Caroff, for appellant.
William K. Eckel, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer, Blatt, DiSalle, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Wilkinson, Jr. and Rogers did not participate. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 634]
These are appeals by the Forest Hills School District from orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria County sustaining two separate awards of arbitrators, each of which sustained a labor grievance filed by the Forest Hills Education Association.
When the previous collective bargaining agreement between the school district and the association expired on June 30, 1974, the parties were negotiating a new one. Because the parties did not reach a new agreement by the date set for the opening of the 1974-75 school year, the members of the association struck and classes did not open as scheduled.
The district meanwhile had adopted a 1974-75 school calendar in August (the August calendar) establishing September 3, 1974 as opening day and also providing for 180 teaching days and four in-service days, designated as February 17, 18, 19 and June 9, 1975.
The parties reached agreement on a new contract and ratified it on September 18, 1974. The next day, the teachers returned to work and school started.
The new agreement expressly covered the period from July 1, 1974 to June 30, 1976 and in Article VII provided that the annual salary was that set forth in Appendix A, which, in relevant part, reads:
[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 635]
The Salary Guide for 1974-75 school year shall be for a contract year of 184 days. . . . In-Service days shall be included in these contract years. Unexcused absence from any school-day or in-service day shall result in the loss of one day (1/184) of the annual basic salary during the 1974-75 school year. . . .
Article IX of the agreement provided that Appendix C accurately reflected hours and conditions of employment. Appendix C reads in part:
The contracted length of the school term shall be a maximum of 180 teaching days, plus four (4) in-service days (184 days total) during the 1974-75 school term. . . .
Article XII of the agreement provided that all negotiable items were included in the discussions giving rise to the agreement, and that the agreement was the final embodiment of those negotiations.
The two grievances involved in these appeals arose when, on January 8, 1975, the school district unilaterally adopted a revised calendar (the January calendar) covering the 1974-75 school year, which provided for only 175 teaching days and a single in-service day, consistent with the actual opening of school on September 19.
In March of 1975, the school district paid the teachers a portion of their salary which reflected a loss of five regular teaching days by subtracting 1/184 of the annual base salary for each of five days it attributed to "unexcused absences" for some of the days lost while the teachers had been on strike. The Association grieved this action, alleging that the school district had violated the new collective bargaining ...