Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County in case of Charles Hixson v. Greater Latrobe School District, No. 1312 of 1979.
Ronald N. Watzman, for appellant.
Dennis B. Rafferty, for appellee.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Craig and Williams, Jr., sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
On June 27, 1977, the Greater Latrobe School District (District) suspended 13 teachers because of a substantial decline in pupil enrollment. One position was eliminated in the Industrial Arts Department, where Charles Hixson (Hixson) was the least senior teacher. However, Hixson was not suspended as another industrial arts teacher, Edward Showalter (Showalter) was also certified to teach social studies and was transferred to an assignment in the Social Studies Department.*fn1
During the 1977-78 school year Hixson taught industrial arts and Showalter taught social studies. Showalter, who had been certified in both industrial arts and social studies since 1958, had always been employed as an industrial arts teacher and did not feel comfortable teaching social studies. During the school year Showalter requested the removal of his certification in social studies from his teaching certificate. The District delayed until the end of the academic year and then, on June 8, 1978, voted to allow the removal of the social studies certification. On July 7, 1978 the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued Showalter a certificate eliminating social studies.
The District, faced with one more teacher than positions in the Industrial Arts Department, on June 28, 1978 passed a resolution directing Hixson's suspension, citing the decline in pupil enrollment as the
basis for the action. On July 3, 1978 Hixson was notified.
Hixson requested a local agency hearing at which the District upheld his suspension. He appealed therefrom to the Court of Common Pleas of Westmoreland County, which affirmed the District. The decision of that court is now before us.
Section 1124 of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1124, provides the reasons for which a school district may suspend a professional employee:
Any board of school directors may suspend the necessary number of professional employes, for any of the ...