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FAIRVIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/26/80)

decided: September 26, 1980.

FAIRVIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND GEORGE ATKINSON, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of In the Matter of Annulment of the Teaching Certificate of George Atkinson, Docket No. 78-2.

COUNSEL

Donald C. Buseck, with him Cygne L. Nemir, Quinn, Gent, Buseck and Leemhuis, Inc., for petitioner.

Phillip A. Ayers, Assistant Attorney General, with him Patricia A. Donovan, Chief Counsel, for respondent, Department of Education of Pennsylvania.

William F. Scarpitti, Evans, Johnson, Scarpitti, McCullough & Wittman, for respondent, George Atkinson.

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

Author: Williams

[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 77]

The Fairview School District (petitioner) appeals from the decision of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education (Secretary) not to annul the permanent teaching certificate of respondent George Atkinson.

In June 1975, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (Department) issued to Atkinson, a teacher in the Fairview School District, a permanent teaching certificate for social studies. A permanent teaching certificate, also known as an Instructional II certificate, is issued to a school teacher pursuant to Section 1205 of the Public School Code of 1949.*fn1 Under that Section, one of the requirements for the issuance of a permanent certificate is a showing, by the teacher, of the "successful experience of three years' teaching" on a provisional certificate in approved elementary or secondary schools. The 1975 issuance of the permanent certificate to respondent Atkinson was supported by the affirmation of the superintendent of the Fairview School District.

On April 3, 1978, the superintendent of the School District wrote to the Secretary and requested the annulment of Atkinson's permanent certificate.*fn2 As a result, the Secretary served upon Atkinson an Order to Show Cause why the Instructional II certificate should not be annulled. The show cause order alleged that Atkinson never had a permanent assignment to

[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 78]

    teach social studies in any school between 1971 and the date of the show cause order, April 25, 1978. It was therefore further alleged that the issuance of the permanent certificate to Atkinson was improper and in violation of Section 1205 of the Public School Code.*fn3

Atkinson answered the show cause order, and admitted that he never had a permanent assignment to teach social studies in any school during the period alleged. However, he asserted in his answer that during the time that he was employed as a "Home and School Visitor", he spent over 50% of his time in classroom teaching. Atkinson also contended, in his answer, that there was no legal requirement that he spend three years of full time teaching in the subject of his provisional certification in order to gain a permanent certificate in that same subject area. The respondent also requested a hearing.

According to the Director of the Department's Bureau of Teacher Certification, a year of teaching for certification purposes is one in which the person spends at least 50% of his time teaching in the area of his certification. According to the Director, a person could properly ...


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