Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Before the Board of School Directors of the Clairton School District, in the Matter of Matthew Strinich, Teacher Tenure Opinion No. 8-78.
Ira Weiss, of Goldman, Weiss & Gross, for petitioner.
Thomas W. Scott, with him Anthony D. Newman, of Killian & Gephart, for respondent.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer. President Judge Bowman and Judge DiSalle did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 390]
Clairton School District appeals an order of the Secretary of Education (Secretary) which reinstated Matthew V. Strinich to his position as a professional employee with the School District.
Strinich, a professional employee, was dismissed by the Clairton School District Board of School Directors (Board), after a hearing, for persistent negligence and persistent and wilful violation of school laws, pursuant to Section 1122 of the Public School
[ 50 Pa. Commw. Page 391]
Code of 1949 (School Code), Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1122. This dismissal was based upon Strinich's extended absence from work, allegedly without good cause, his failure to adequately maintain grade books and lesson plans in accord with school policy, his failure to report to cafeteria duty as directed, and verbal abuse directed toward his supervisor. Strinich appealed to the Secretary who, based upon consideration of the Board's record and additional evidence submitted by Strinich, determined that the evidence did not support the dismissal and ordered reinstatement. This appeal followed.
The School District first argues that the Secretary abused his discretion in permitting Strinich to present the deposition of a medical witness, absent a showing that this evidence either was unavailable at the time of the Board's hearing or was not presented for some other compelling reason. We disagree.
Section 1131 of the School Code, 24 P.S. § 11-1131, provides that, on appeal to the Secretary (Superintendent of Public Instruction),
[t]he Superintendent of Public Instruction shall review the official transcript of the record of the hearing before the board, and may hear and consider such additional testimony as he may deem advisable to enable him to make a proper order. At said hearing the litigants shall have the right to be heard in person or by counsel or both.
After hearing and argument and reviewing all the testimony filed or taken before him, the Superintendent of Public Instruction shall enter such order, either affirming or reversing the action of the board of school ...