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KAREN RACUNAS v. RINGGOLD SCHOOL DISTRICT (12/01/82)

decided: December 1, 1982.

KAREN RACUNAS, APPELLANT
v.
RINGGOLD SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County in case of Karen Racunas v. Ringgold School District, No. 405 September Term, 1976.

COUNSEL

Gretchen Sohn Reed, for appellant.

George B. Stegenga, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Williams, Jr. and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.

Author: Williams

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 222]

This case comes before the Court on an appeal by Karen Racunas, an elementary school teacher, from a determination by the Washington County Court of Common Pleas that her action in mandamus against the Ringgold School District (district) will not lie. Ms. Racunas had brought suit praying that the district be ordered to (1) issue her a contract as a professional employee for the current school year, (2)

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 223]

    pay her in accordance with the salary she would be earning if she had been employed as a professional employee since the 1974-1975 school year, and (3) give her back pay and retirement benefits for the intervening years.

Because the trial court concluded that an action in mandamus could not be sustained, and that it therefore did not have jurisdiction,*fn1 it did not make findings of fact. We are now confronted with innumerable contradictory pleadings and pieces of evidence, but will nevertheless attempt to fashion a recitation of the uncontested facts. Ms. Racunas graduated from college in 1969, and worked for the district as a temporary professional employee*fn2 from January, 1969, until January, 1971, when she resigned. After working

[ 70 Pa. Commw. Page 224]

    as an occasional substitute*fn3 in the district in the interim, she returned in September, 1974, and taught daily in one classroom for the entire 1974-1975 school year. Ms. Racunas testified that at some point around the end of that year, she approached the superintendent to request that he sign her application for permanent certification,*fn4 but he declined to do so. During the 1975-1976 school year, the appellant once again taught for the entire year in one classroom, although not in the same classroom or school in which she had been located the previous year.

The district asserts that Ms. Racunas was a substitute for the 1974-75 and 1975-76 school years; she argues that she was filling a position vacated by the resignation of a professional employee*fn5 during 1974-75, and thus should be accorded the status of professional employee, as will be ...


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