Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of David Shestack v. General Braddock Area School District, No. SA 231 of 1981.
Michael A. Della Vecchia, Evashavik, Capone, Evans & Della Vecchia, for appellant.
Anton W. Bigman, for appellee.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 205]
David Shestack, a professional employee of the General Braddock Area School District, was demoted from his position as the principal of an elementary school to that of a fifth grade classroom teacher, when, in June 1980, a decline in pupil enrollment caused the Board of School Directors to close an elementary school in the district and to transfer the principal of that school to the position previously held by Shestack. Twenty-two other professional and non-professional employees were suspended from their positions as a result of the school closure.
Following notification of the change in his employment status, Shestack requested and was granted a hearing conducted by the school directors. At the hearing Shestack adduced evidence to the effect, and the school directors found, that although no elementary principals were less senior than he, one elementary principal was also certified as an administrator at the junior high school level where there was employed a a principal and an assistant principal less senior than both Shestack and the dually certified elementary principal. Shestack then argued, by his counsel, that the action with respect to his position of employment constituted a "realignment" within the meaning of
[ 63 Pa. Commw. Page 206]
Section 1125.1(c) of the Public School Code of 1949,*fn1 which provides
A school entity shall realign its professional staff as to insure [sic] that more senior employes are provided with the opportunity to fill positions for which they are certificated and which are being filled by less senior employees;
that this statutory provision required the school directors to realign its professional staff in strict conformity with the relative seniority of the staff members realigned; and that this statutory requirement had not been met in Shestack's case because the school directors did not transfer the dually certified elementary principal to the position of the less senior junior high school principal so that Shestack might be retained in his position as the principal of an elementary school. The school directors, in a written decision encompassing findings of fact and conclusions of law, rejected the fundamental premise of Shestack's argument determining that Section 1125.1(c) was inapplicable to his conceded demotion; that the only issue before the Board was the propriety of the demotion under Section 1151 of the School Code; and that the demotion was proper because Shestack had failed to establish that the action of the Board was arbitrary, discriminatory, or based on improper motives. Nagy v. Belle Vernon Area School District, 49 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 452, 412 A.2d 172 (1980).
Shestack appealed from this adjudication to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which granted the school directors' motion to quash the appeal, citing Norwin School District v. Chlodney, 37 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 284, 390 A.2d 328 ...