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JAMES T. ULANOSKI ET AL. v. JANE A. SHEAFFER ET AL. (07/29/80)

decided: July 29, 1980.

JAMES T. ULANOSKI ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
JANE A. SHEAFFER ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of The Forty-First Judicial District, Perry County Branch, in case of James T. Ulanoski, Donna L. Ferguson, Pattye E. Williamson and Kieth E. Long v. Jane A. Sheaffer, Donald E. Siffin, Norwood D. Engle, Richard C. Sarver, Rosemary Beaver, S. Dean Stephens, Lloyd E. Nipple, Gerald M. Lyter, Harry C. Long and M. Richard Wolford, No. 78-1.

COUNSEL

Stuart M. Bliwas, for appellants.

Jack M. Stover, with him R. J. Woodside, Shearer, Mette and Woodside, and Allan W. Holman, for appellees.

Judges Mencer, Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.

Author: Mencer

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 280]

The Greenwood School District in Perry County was confronted with the problem of inadequate space at its elementary schools located in Millerstown and Liverpool. Two solutions to the problem were considered: (1) build one consolidated elementary school in Millerstown or (2) build a new school in Millerstown and renovate the school building in Liverpool.

In early 1977, the school board decided to have the taxpayers polled on this perplexing issue. Results showed 1,511 in favor of the two-school alternative and 1,188 in favor of the one-school alternative, but not all taxpayers participated in the poll, and the polling procedure triggered additional debate among the proponents of the two solutions under consideration.

As a consequence of the poll, Jack Cameron, the school board president, announced at the April 1977

[ 53 Pa. Commw. Page 281]

    board meeting that he was going to honor the poll results and vote for the two-school alternative, thus giving the two-school proponents a 5 to 4 majority on the board. In the primary election in May 1977, Rosemary Beaver contested the seat of Cameron, running as a proponent of the one-school solution. She won in the primary and, based on the history of Perry County elections, it became reasonably likely that, after the general election in November and the swearing in of a new school director in December, the Board would be 5 to 4 in favor of the one-school approach.

On October 4, 1977, the board voted to proceed with the two-school plan. Architects started preparing plans for construction. A month later Rosemary Beaver was elected and, at the beginning of December 1977, replaced Jack Cameron as a member of the board. On December 16, 1977, the newly constituted board rescinded the October 4, 1977 resolution and passed a resolution to build one consolidated elementary school in Millerstown.

The appellants here instituted an equity action in the Court of Common Pleas of the 41st Judicial District, Perry County Branch, against the school board and the superintendent, alleging that the board's rescission resolution of December 16, 1977 was illegal. The appellees here in due time moved for summary judgment on the pleadings, and the trial court granted the motion and dismissed the complaint. This appeal followed.

Our Supreme Court stated, in Landerman v. Churchill Area School District, 414 Pa. 530, 534, ...


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