Appeal from the Order of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the case of In Re: Claim of Ellen A. Aronson, No. B-173500.
Elliot A. Strokoff, of Handler and Gerber, P.C., for petitioner.
Steven R. Marcuse, Assistant Attorney General, with him Richard Wagner, Chief Counsel, and Harvey Bartle, III, Acting Attorney General, for respondent.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 178]
The only question before us is whether the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (board) correctly concluded that claimant Ellen Aronson, a substitute teacher, was ineligible for benefits during the summer of 1978, under Section 402.1(1) of the Unemployment Compensation Law, 43 P.S. § 802.1(1),*fn1
[ 56 Pa. Commw. Page 179]
because she had a reasonable assurance of returning to work in the same capacity for the next school term.
Section 402.1(1) now bars an instructional employee in an educational institution from benefits for periods between successive academic years or terms
if such individual performs such services in the first of such academic years or terms and if there is a contract or a reasonable assurance that such individual will perform services in any such capacity for any educational institution in the second of such academic years or terms.
The concept of "reasonable assurance" is not defined in the statute. However, we have held that, absent a formal agreement to rehire, there must be some evidence of mutual commitment or assurance between the teacher and employer to recall the former, so that the teacher can be said to have a reasonable expectation of returning to employment in the next term. Langer v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 47 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 88, 407 A.2d 123 (1979). In Langer, we distinguished a reasonable expectation of re-employment from mere hope of returning in the fall. See Cawley v. Unemployment Compensation Board of Review, 36 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 405, 387 A.2d 1023 (1978).
Claimant first began working as a substitute teacher for the school district on January 10, 1978, replacing a teacher who had taken an indefinite leave of absence. The position was claimant's first; her name had initially appeared on the employer's substitute teacher list in the fall of 1977. Because the regular teacher extended her leave of absence, claimant retained the substitute position until the end of the school year.
On July 5, 1978, the school district sent the claimant a letter which explained that the ...