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RINGGOLD SCHOOL DISTRICT v. CHARLES J. ABRAMSKI (02/20/81)

decided: February 20, 1981.

RINGGOLD SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
CHARLES J. ABRAMSKI, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in case of Charles J. Abramski v. Ringgold School District, No. 119 January Term, 1977.

COUNSEL

George B. Stegenga, for appellant.

Shelley W. Elovitz, with her Ronald N. Watzman, for appellee.

Judges Blatt, Craig and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 34]

Ringgold School District (Appellant) appeals from a judgment entered on a verdict*fn1 by the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in favor of Charles J. Abramski (Appellee). For the reasons which follow, we affirm.

The controversy in this case centers around the validity of a contract entered into by the Board of Education (Board) of the Appellant and the Appellee on November 14, 1973. The contract provides for the employment of the Appellee as head football coach of the Ringgold High School for the school years 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77 at an annual salary of $2200. It is undisputed that Appellee served as head coach during the 1974-75 school year season. On January 9, 1975, however, the Board approved a motion that the coaching position "be declared open." Appellee

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 35]

    was notified of the Board's action on January 10, 1975 and was informed that applications for the position were being accepted. After submitting his application Appellee was appointed, by approval of the Board on May 13, 1975, to be head football coach for the 1975-76 school year. On June 3, 1975 the Board sent Appellee a letter containing eleven "stipulations" which apparently were to govern his conduct as head coach during the 1975-76 school year. Appellee agreed to the stipulations by affixing his signature to the letter and returning it to the Board. The letter included a statement that, "Violation of any of the following [stipulations] will result in the immediate termination of this contract. . . ." It is undisputed that Appellee did serve as head coach during the 1975-76 school year season. On January 8, 1976, the Board approved a motion appointing another teacher to be head football coach for the 1976-77 school year.

Appellee filed a complaint in assumpsit with the court below on or about January 7, 1977 alleging that the Appellant breached the employment contract entered into on November 14, 1973 by failing to pay Appellee as head coach for the 1976-77 school year. After a non-jury trial, the court below rendered its verdict for Appellee in the amount of $2200*fn2 with interest from June 30, 1976. Appellant's exceptions to the opinion and verdict were dismissed and the present appeal was taken.

The issues presented for our consideration are: 1) was the contract entered into by the Board and Appellee in November, 1973 inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement then in effect; 2) was the November, 1973 contract rendered invalid because an unfair labor practice charge was filed in relation

[ 57 Pa. Commw. Page 36]

    thereto; 3) is compulsory arbitration Appellee's exclusive remedy; 4) did a novation occur thereby extinguishing the three year employment contract when Appellee signed the letter of June 3, 1975; and 5) was Appellant justified in terminating Appellee's ...


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