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LAKE LEHMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT v. MARILYN CIGARSKI (03/13/81)

decided: March 13, 1981.

LAKE LEHMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT,
v.
MARILYN CIGARSKI, THOMAS BROWN, STEPHEN PLACKO AND WILLIAM PETERS



No. 80-3-364, Appeal from the Order of Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, Civil Action, at No. 210 C.D. 1978

COUNSEL

Peter J. Savage, Wilkes-Barre, for appellant.

Peter J. O'Brien, Mount Pocono, for appellees.

O'Brien, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Larsen, Flaherty and Kauffman, JJ. O'Brien, C. J., files an Opinion in Support of Affirmance which Nix and Larsen, JJ., join. Larsen, J., files a separate Opinion in Support of Affirmance. Flaherty, J., files an Opinion in Support of Reversal which Roberts and Kauffman, JJ., join.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 494 Pa. Page 120]

OPINION OF THE COURT

The Court being equally divided, the Order of the Commonwealth Court is affirmed.

[ 494 Pa. Page 121]

OPINION IN SUPPORT OF AFFIRMANCE

O'BRIEN, Chief Justice.

During the 1976-1977 school year, the Board of School Directors of the Lake Lehman School District requested its Superintendent to develop a school district reorganization plan. Such a plan was prepared and forwarded to the Department of Public Instruction for approval. The School Board adopted the plan on June 30, 1977. The Department of Public Instruction approved the reorganization on July 5, 1977, advising the Board that the proposed program changes met the mandated curriculum requirements of the School Code and regulations of the State Board. The Department also notified the Board that the proposed changes were not covered by Section 1124 of the Public School Code of 1949, Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, § 1124, 24 P.S. § 11-1124, and did not need official departmental approval since they were a local district option within the discretion of the Board.

Pursuant to the reorganization plan, two tenured professional employees and two temporary professional employees were suspended, a German teacher was demoted and a custodian was dismissed. The dismissal and demotion are not involved in this appeal. The suspended employees requested a hearing pursuant to Local Agency Law, Act of December 2, 1968, P.L. 1133, 53 P.S. § 11301 et seq. Following the hearing on August 9, 1977, the School Board issued an adjudication sustaining the suspensions.

The employees appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County which affirmed the Board's action and dismissed the appeals. They then appealed to the Commonwealth Court which reversed and remanded the case for entry of an order directing their ...


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