Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Robert J. Condron v. Fox Chapel Area School District, Teacher Tenure Appeal No. 19-81.
Edward J. Van Allen, Kirkpatrick, Lockhart, Johnson & Hutchison, for petitioner.
Dennis S. Shilobod, with him E. J. Strassburger, Strassburger, McKenna, Messer, Shilobod & Gutnick, for respondent.
Judges Williams, Jr., Barry and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.
[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 199]
This case comes here on appeal following an order by the Secretary of Education (Secretary) to remand*fn1 to the Fox Chapel Area School District (District) for proceedings in accordance with Section 1125.1 of the Public School Code.*fn2
For the past ten years, the District experienced a substantial decrease in enrollment. This decline led to a reduction from seven to six in the number of necessary elementary schools which the School District operated and to a corresponding reduction in the number of school principals. The District Superintendent consequently recommended that Robert J. Condron be demoted from principal to elementary school teacher because an evaluation performed among
[ 79 Pa. Commw. Page 200]
the seven principals indicated that Condron was the least competent. Condron, however, did have seniority over some of the others.
After serving a "Statement of Grounds for Demotion" and an "Amended Statement of Grounds for Demotion", the School District's Board of Directors (Board) conducted hearings pursuant to Section 1151 of the Code.*fn3 Although Condron, by his attorney, objected to the hearings under this Section of the Code as opposed to Section 1125.1,*fn4 the Board continued the hearings and, finally adopted a resolution demoting Condron, who then appealed to the Secretary claiming that the Board had violated Section 1125.1 of the Code. The Secretary then ordered, inter alia, that the Board make findings consistent with Section 1125.1, and District filed the instant appeal.
The District contends here that the Secretary lacked jurisdiction to hear Condron's appeal.
Section 1125.1 of the Code provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
(a) Professional employes shall be suspended under section 1124 (relating to causes for suspension) in inverse order of seniority within the ...