Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of Helene Karafin, Richard Puchino, Karen Brody, Lynn Roccograndi, Sherrie Noch, Rochelle Gay, Janice Hines, Richard Cornwell, Linda Harten, Linwood Rohrbach, Joann Schmidt v. Bristol Township School District, No. 81-09135-15-1.
Edwin N. Popkin, Begley, Carlin & Mandio, for appellant.
A. Martin Herring, for appellees.
William Fearen, with him, Michael I. Levin, Cleckner & Fearen, for Amicus Curiae, Pennsylvania School Boards Association.
Judges Craig, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.
The Bristol Township School District (appellant) appeals an order by the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, which, upon consideration of a petition for declaratory judgment filed by eleven teachers (appellees), entered an order in favor of appellees.
Appellees' petition requested the trial court to interpret several sections of the Public School Code of 1949 which applied to the rights of the appellees in regard to sabbatical leave applied for in the 1980 school year to commence and be enjoyed during all or part of the 1981 school year. Prior to the conclusion of the 1980 school year appellees were notified that they would be suspended (furloughed) for the 1981 school year in accordance with Section 1124 of the Public School Code of 1949 (Code), Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. § 11-1124, because of reduction in pupil enrollment. In January, 1981, appellant decided that appellees would not be granted sabbatical leave if they were furloughed. Some of the appellees were furloughed and remained on furlough; however, some were recalled for employment for the 1981 school year.*fn1
The issue before the trial court was whether suspension of a teacher pursuant to the Code deprives the teacher of sabbatical leave to which he or she would otherwise be entitled under Section 1166 of the Code. The trial court held that the appellees were entitled to sabbatical leave under Section 1166 of the Code. This appeal followed.
Section 1166 of the Code, provides:
Any person employed in the public school system of this Commonwealth who has completed ten (10) years of satisfactory service as a professional employe or member of the supervisory, instructional or administrative staff, or as a commissioned officer, of any board of school directors, county board of school directors, or any other part of the public school system of the Commonwealth, shall be entitled to a leave of absence, for restoration of health, study or travel, or, at the discretion of the board of school directors, for other purposes. At least five consecutive years of such service shall have been in the ...