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RIDLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT v. RIDLEY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (07/19/84)

decided: July 19, 1984.

RIDLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
RIDLEY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLEE. RIDLEY EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT V. RIDLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLEE



Appeals from the Orders of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County in case of Ridley School District v. Ridley Education Association, No. 82-17481 of 1982.

COUNSEL

Stephen J. Polaha, with him, Arthur Levy, for appellant/appellee, Ridley School District.

Alexander A. Di Santi, Richard, Di Santi, Hamilton, Gallagher & Paul, for appellee/appellant, Ridley Education Association.

Judges Craig, Barry and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 118]

These cross appeals result from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County which affirmed in part and reversed in part the award of an arbitrator on grievances filed by the Ridley Education Association (Association) against the Ridley School District (School District).

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 119]

On September 2, 1980, the School District and the Association entered into a collective bargaining agreement covering the school years 1980-81 through 1982-83. In June of 1982, Gail Heinemeyer and Caroline Lindauer, professional employees of the School District, were notified they were being placed on suspended status pursuant to Section 1125.1 of the Public School Code of 1949*fn1 (School Code) because of declining pupil enrollment in the School District. Both employees claimed their suspensions were improper. Ms. Heinemeyer, who had completed ten years of teaching with the School District at the end of the 1981-82 school year, argued she had applied for, and was entitled to, a sabbatical leave, thereby obviating the need for her suspension. Mrs. Lindauer claimed she was entitled to another one-half year seniority for a maternity leave during the 1975-76 school year, thereby placing her ahead of other employees on the seniority list and requiring that her suspension be withdrawn.

The Association filed grievances on behalf of both employees; both grievances eventually proceeded to arbitration. The arbitrator ruled in favor of both employees. The School District appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County. That court affirmed the arbitrator's award granting Ms. Heinemeyer her sabbatical leave but reversed the portion of the award crediting Mrs. Lindauer with an additional one-half year seniority. These cross appeals by the School District and the Association followed.

When reviewing the merits of an arbitrator's award, we are limited to determining if the award draws its essence from the collective bargaining agreement.

[ 84 Pa. Commw. Page 120]

    to determinations regarding the arbitrability of the subject matter of a grievance." Scranton Federation of Teachers at 65, 444 A.2d at 1147.

Article XXX, Section 1 of this collective bargaining agreement defines a grievance as "a claim or assertion that there has been a violation of any of the provisions of this ...


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