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RUTH F. GRANT v. BOARD SCHOOL DIRECTORS CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT (02/28/84)

decided: February 28, 1984.

RUTH F. GRANT, PETITIONER
v.
THE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF THE CENTENNIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Secretary of Education in case of Ruth S. Grant v. Board of Education of Centennial School District, Teacher Tenure Appeal No. 17-79.

COUNSEL

Charles J. King, Jr., Rogers, King & Cole, for petitioner.

John Philip Diefenderfer, Stuckert, Yates & Krewson, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, MacPhail and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 482]

This is an appeal of a professional employee of the Centennial School District, Bucks County, from the order of the Secretary of Education upholding the action of the Board of School Directors dismissing her from the district's employ.

The school board dismissed the appellant from her employment as a school psychologist for incompetency in August, 1975. The school board acted by vote at a board meeting; and it did not produce a written adjudication with findings of fact. The employee appealed to the Secretary of Education who set aside the board's action on the ground that the appellant had not been twice rated unsatisfactory prior to her dismissal. The Secretary did not review the merits of the school board's action.

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 483]

The school district appealed the Secretary's order and in Centennial School District v. Secretary of Education, 31 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 307, 376 A.2d 302 (1977) (allocatur refused), we held that there was no law or valid regulation which required that a professional employee be rated unsatisfactory two times before being dismissed for incompetence and we remanded the record to the Secretary of Education for a review of the merits of the employee's appeal. The Secretary, without taking additional evidence or producing an adjudication, upheld the dismissal.

The employee appealed the Secretary's action. In Grant v. Board of School Directors of the Centennial School District, 43 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 556, 403 A.2d 157 (1979), being unable to conduct a review because neither the board nor the Secretary had produced a written adjudication, we vacated the Secretary's order and remanded the record to the Secretary for "an adjudication, including findings of fact."

By an adjudication made August 10, 1981, and containing findings of fact, the Secretary dismissed the appeal. This third appeal followed.

The appellant first contends, as we understand her brief, that the Secretary misconceived the standard by which he should have reviewed the board's action; that instead of reviewing the record and deciding the matter afresh and independently of the board's decision, as the appellant says he should have done, the Secretary made findings calculated to support the school board's action dismissing her. This argument is based on a sentence in the Secretary's adjudication to the effect that the "question before the Secretary was that of whether the record contains ...


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