Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Kenneth Richardson v. Central Westmoreland Vocational-Technical School, Teacher Tenure Appeal, No. 23-78.
Jon M. Lewis, with him Paul Welty, for petitioner.
Linda J. Wells, Assistant Attorney General, for respondent.
Ronald N. Watzman, for Kenneth C. Richardson.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 436]
The Joint Operating Committee of the Central Westmoreland Area Vocational-Technical School has appealed from an order of the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education reversing the Committee's termination of Kenneth Richardson's employment with the Vo-Tech School as a tenured professional employee, and ordered his reinstatement. The issue is whether the Committee's action was a dismissal of Richardson
[ 54 Pa. Commw. Page 437]
vesting the Secretary with jurisdiction to review it, or whether it was a suspension as to which the Secretary had no power of review.
The facts are not in dispute. The Vo-Tech School was created by a jointure of nine school districts and is operated by the Committee under Articles of Agreement. Richardson was hired as a teacher at the Vo-Tech School in 1975. He was a professional employee as that term is defined in Section 1101(1) of The Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1101(1) (School Code). In November 1977 he was elected to the school board of the Jeanette School District; one of the nine school districts comprising the Vo-Tech jointure.
The Committee consulted counsel who advised it that Richardson could not be paid as a teacher while acting as a director of a constituent district, on the authority of Sections 3-322 and 3-324, which provided, respectively:
Eligibility; incompatible offices
Any citizen of this Commonwealth, having a good moral character, being eighteen (18) years of age or upwards, and having been a resident of the district for at least one (1) year prior to the date of his election or appointment, shall be eligible to the office of school director therein: Provided, that any . . . teacher . . . shall not be eligible as a school director in this Commonwealth. This section shall not prevent any . . . teacher . . . from being a school director in a district other than the one in which he is ...