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VERNA ARNOLD v. BOARD SCHOOL DIRECTORS SCHOOL DISTRICT PITTSBURGH (03/12/84)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 12, 1984.

VERNA ARNOLD, APPELLANT
v.
BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PITTSBURGH, APPELLEE. LINDA J. WOMACK, APPELLANT V. BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PITTSBURGH, APPELLEE

Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Verna Arnold v. Board of School Directors of the School District of Pittsburgh, No. SA 344 of 1982, and in case of Linda J. Womack v. Board of School Directors of the School District of Pittsburgh, No. SA 563 of 1982.

COUNSEL

Eugene A. Lincoln, for appellants.

Persifor S. Oliver, Jr., Assistant Solicitor, with him Robert J. Stefanko, Solicitor, for appellee.

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

Author: Crumlish

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 37]

Verna Arnold and Linda Womack, teachers for the Pittsburgh School District's Head Start program, appeal

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 38]

Allegheny County Common Pleas Court orders affirming the Board of School Directors of the School District of Pittsburgh's decisions to furlough them. We affirm.*fn1

In accordance with the teachers' collective bargaining agreement, Arnold and Womack were laid off due to the decline in pupil enrollment. Participation in the Head Start program, however, had not declined. Each is certified in early childhood education and had taught for two "school terms" as that term is defined by Section 102(3) of the Public School Code of 1949 (Code),*fn2 but had not been employed for two calendar years at the time of furlough.*fn3 Some non-certified teachers for the Head Start program who had been employed longer by the school district were retained.

Arnold and Womack first argue that the School Board should have designated them permanent professional employees as defined in Section 1108 of the Code.*fn4 They contend that this designation would have entitled them to the seniority rights granted by Section 1125.1 of the Code.*fn5 Those rights, however,

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 39]

    have been replaced by Article 29*fn6 of the collective bargaining agreement which had been negotiated by their collective bargaining agent and the school board in accordance with the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA).*fn7 Subsection (e) of Section 1125.1 of the Code recognizes such a possibility by providing that nothing contained in the preceding subsection relating to seniority "shall be construed to supersede or to preempt any provisions of a collective bargaining agreement negotiated by a school entity and an exclusive representative of the employes in accordance with [PERA]." In this context, therefore, the designation of professional employee is irrelevant since it is not a factor in the seniority system created by the collective bargaining agreement.

Arnold and Womack also assert that the School Board mistakenly utilized in the Head Start program non-certified instructors and instructors certified in other than early childhood education when properly certified teachers were furloughed. We have previously held that Head Start programs are not subject to Code certification requirements. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers v. Board of Education, 51 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 296, 414 A.2d 424 (1980). The School Board, therefore, did not need to consider certification when it applied the negotiated seniority system.*fn8

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 40]

We hold therefore that the School Board was correct in its determination that the furloughs of Arnold and Womack were proper.

Affirmed.

Order in 1945 C.D. 1982

The order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dated July 8, 1982, is affirmed.

Order in 524 C.D. 1983

The order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dated January 28, 1983, is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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