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MID VALLEY TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION ET AL. v. MID VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL. (06/27/80)

decided: June 27, 1980.

MID VALLEY TAXPAYERS ASSOCIATION ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
MID VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County in case of Mid Valley Taxpayers Association, an unincorporated association; Walter J. Malski; Andrew Chezik; Anthony Colucci; William M. Gilbert; Ben Macknofsky; John Buckshon; John Lukasewicz; Marguerite E. McGowan; Dorothy Chezik; Samuel Marotti; Anna Marotti v. Mid Valley School District, a quasimunicipal corporation; Alfred Malinowsky, in his official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; Valentino Grassetti, in his official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; Pauline Martine, in her official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; Mary Lou Gillar, in her official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; A. J. Kowalski, in his official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; Charles Pochis, in his official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; Albert Muto, in his official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; Edmund Mackarevich, in his official capacity as a member of the Board of School Directors; Mid Valley School Authority, a quasimunicipal corporation; Stanley Jezuit, in his official capacity as a member of the Authority; George Pastir, in his official capacity as a member of the Authority; John Eavarone, in his official capacity as a member of the Authority; Grant Washenik, in his official capacity as a member of the Authority; and Carol Repecki, in her official capacity as a member of the Authority, No. 10, May Term, 1979.

COUNSEL

Robert J. Nolan, Miller, Nolan and Cali, for appellants.

John P. Pesota, with him Timothy J. Carson and Joseph B. Sturgis, of counsel, Saul, Ewing, Remick & Saul, for appellees.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 404]

The Mid Valley Taxpayers Association and individual taxpayers in the Mid Valley School District (Appellants) filed a suit in equity with the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County to enjoin the Mid Valley School District, the individual members of the Board of that School District, the Mid Valley

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 405]

School Authority, and the individual members of that Authority (collectively, School District) from commencing with a construction project for a new school facility. The School District filed an answer to Appellants' complaint, admitting most of the factual allegations therein and then filed a motion for summary judgment which was granted by the Court of Common Pleas of Lackawanna County. This appeal followed.

Briefly, the facts before the court are drawn from those set forth in Appellants' complaint, admitted in the School District's answer, and alleged in unopposed supporting affidavits. In 1972, the School District initiated plans to construct a new junior-senior high school on a site known as the "Eddy Creek" site which land had been acquired for that purpose. Its plans were delayed, however, when a hold was placed on approval of the site for construction by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (Department). The Department had been advised by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER) of several environmental hazards associated with the Eddy Creek site. However, in December of 1975, DER indicated it no longer objected to the School District's proceeding at its own discretion with the proposed construction due to the apparent remedying of the environmental problems.

Thereafter the School District submitted final drawings and specifications for the proposed new building to the Department which approved the proposal in April of 1976. Bids for the project were solicited in September of 1976. From the inception of the project to that time, the School District incurred expenses in excess of $500,000, which sum included the purchase price of real estate and architectural and educational consultant fees. The bids were not accepted.

[ 52 Pa. Commw. Page 406]

In December, 1976, and February, 1977, two of the School District's elementary schools were closed due to their unsafe condition by the Department of Labor and Industry. The School District was informed by the Department that costs of renovating those buildings would not be reimbursed from state funds.

By referendum in May, 1977, the School District asked its electorate whether it favored (1) remodeling all existing school buildings, if possible, (2) building a smaller junior-senior high school on an alternate site, or (3) building the proposed junior-senior high school on the Eddy Creek site. A majority ...


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