Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in case of Frank T. Sporie v. Eastern Westmoreland Area Vocational-Technical School, No. 7955 of 1977.
Bernard F. Scherer, with him Lightcap, McDonald & Moore, for appellant.
Robert J. Milie, for appellee.
Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 391]
This is a local agency appeal*fn1 by Frank T. Sporie (petitioner) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County affirming petitioner's suspension from his teaching duties at Eastern Westmoreland Area Vocational-Technical School (Vo-Tech) 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. We affirm.
Petitioner, a professional employee certified to teach agriculture, was suspended by the Joint Operating Committee of Vo-Tech (Committee) when Vo-Tech's agricultural program was curtailed by the
[ 47 Pa. Commw. Page 392]
elimination of vocational agriculture in accordance with a recommended curriculum change accompanying a move to new facilities. The Committee sustained petitioner's suspension, effective August 29, 1976, after several hearings at which petitioner contested the evidence utilized by the Committee to support its decision. On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County affirmed, and this appeal followed.
We have previously held that a professional employee, as defined by Section 1101 of the Code, 24 P.S. § 11-1101, may be suspended only for the reasons listed in Section 1124 of the Code. See Theros v. Warwick Board of School Directors, 42 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 296, 401 A.2d 575 (1979); Fatscher v. Springfield School District, 28 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 170, 367 A.2d 1130 (1977). See also Alberts v. Garofalo, 393 Pa. 212, 142 A.2d 280 (1958); Bragg v. Swarthmore School District, 337 Pa. 363, 11 A.2d 152 (1940). A suspension for any other reason is invalid and will result in the reinstatement of the professional employee, with back pay, even if his former position has been abolished. See, e.g., Alberts, supra; Theros, supra.
Here, petitioner was suspended pursuant to Section 1124(2), which reads as follows:
Any board of school directors may suspend the necessary number of professional employes, for any of the causes hereinafter enumerated:
(2) Curtailment or alteration of the educational program on recommendation of the superintendent, concurred in by the board of school directors, approved by the Department of Public Instruction, as a result of substantial decline in class or course enrollments or to conform with ...