Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County in case of Marilyn Cigarski, Thomas Brown, Stephen Placko and William Peters v. Lake Lehman School District, No. 7674 of 1977.
Peter J. O'Brien, with him O'Brien and Miller, for appellants.
Charles D. Lemmond, Jr., for appellee.
William Fearen, Michael I. Levin and Cleckner & Fearen, for amicus curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
Judges Blatt, DiSalle and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 298]
On June 30, 1977, the Lake Lehman School District (District) suspended temporary professional employees Marilyn Cigarski and Thomas Brown*fn1 and professional employees Stephen Placko and William Peters (collectively, Appellants) from their teaching
[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 299]
positions with the District pursuant to a resolution adopted by the Board of School Directors (Board) of the District.
The Board purported to adopt this resolution pursuant to Section 1124 of the Public School Code of 1949 (Code), Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1124, "in accordance with the reasons specifically given, but not limited to, in sub-sections 1, 2 and 3 and economic trends." The Board affirmed its suspension of the appellants after a hearing, stating as a reason for its adjudication that "one of the reasons for suspension enumerated in Section 1124 does, in fact, exist," without specifying which of those reasons applied.
The Appellants appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, which was obliged to affirm the Board's adjudication unless a necessary finding of fact was not supported by substantial evidence or the adjudication was not in accordance with the law. 2 Pa. C.S. § 754(b). The trial court held that the Board's finding that one of the reasons listed in Section 1124 existed was not supported by substantial evidence. Nevertheless, that court held "we do not believe that Section 1124 was intended by the Legislature to provide the only reasons for suspension of tenured teachers." The trial court further found that the Board "made a discretionary determination on an internal management policy." Thereupon, the trial court dismissed the appeal because it found that a reorganization of the District entailing a reduction in personnel was warranted.
[ 46 Pa. Commw. Page 300]
We agree with the trial court that no Section 1124 reason was established by the District. We must reverse that court, however, because, according to decided cases, our Legislature has mandated that Section 1124 provides the sole reasons for suspending a professional employee. Theros v. Warwick Board of Page 300} School ...