Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in case of Ringgold School District v. The Ringgold Education Association, No. 61 November Term, 1978.
Ronald N. Watzman, for appellant.
George B. Stegenga, for appellee.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. President Judge Bowman did not participate in the decision in this case. Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 519]
On January 30, 1978, most of the teachers in the Ringgold School District (District) received notice pursuant to a preconceived plan adopted by the District that school had been canceled because of a severe snow storm. However, twenty-nine teachers reported for work as scheduled claiming that they received no notice of the cancellation. When the District refused to pay them for reporting, grievances were filed and an arbitrator appointed. After two hearings, the arbitrator found that sixteen of the twenty-nine grievants were entitled to a full day's pay for reporting on January 30.
The District appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County. That court found that the arbitrator's decision was rationally derived from the bargaining agreement entered into by The Ringgold Education Association (Appellant) and that his award should be upheld except that the sixteen teachers should be compensated only for the actual time they were at the school on January 30 at the rate of $8.00 per hour.
Appellant brought this appeal contending that the trial court had no authority to modify the arbitrator's award under the circumstances of this case.
Appellants contend that an arbitrator's award may be modified or corrected only where one of the four conditions exist as specified in Section 11 of the Act of April 25, 1927 (Act), P.L. 381, as amended, 5 P.S. § 171.*fn1 It is apparent that the trial court in the instant case would have no statutory authority to modify the arbitrator's award unless the award was found to be
[ 49 Pa. Commw. Page 520]
"against the law," since the other three statutory conditions are clearly inapplicable to the facts of this case. Citing Leechburg Area School District v. Leechburg Education Association, 475 Pa. 413, 380 A.2d 1203 (1977), Appellant would have us hold that in order for an arbitration award to be against the law within the meaning of Section 11 of the Act, there must be a specific statutory prohibition against it. We disagree. In Leechburg, petitioners were attempting to vacate the arbitrator's award. Therefore, the Supreme Court decided the case on the basis of the provisions of Section 10 of the Act, 5 P.S. § 170. The Court's comments with respect to the provisions of Section 11 were dicta. Surely there may be other reasons why an award may be against the law, e.g. decisional law.
Here, the trial court was aware of our decision in favor of the teachers in South Allegheny School District v. South Allegheny Education Association, 25 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 282, 360 A.2d 829 (1976), aff'd per curiam 470 Pa. 214, 368 A.2d 270 (1977), but decided that the facts of that case ...