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SCHOOL DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/23/84)

decided: October 23, 1984.

SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION BOARD OF REVIEW, RESPONDENT



Appeals from the Orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review in the cases of In Re: Claim of Rosita B. Johnson, No. B-206847 and Claim of Ruth V. Taggart, No. B-206848.

COUNSEL

Robert H. Nuttall, Assistant Counsel, with him, Eugene F. Brazil, General Counsel, for petitioner.

Richard F. Faux, Associate Counsel, with him, Charles Hasson, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Richard L. Cole, Jr., Chief Counsel, for respondent.

James J. Binns, James J. Binns, P.A., with him, Deborah R. Willig, for intervenor, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

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

Author: Rogers

[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 527]

We have consolidated two appeals by the School District of Philadelphia (school district) from orders of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review affirming a referee's determination that Ruth B. Taggart and Rosita B. Johnson, individually and as representative claimants for 3,498 school district professional and nonprofessional employees were entitled to unemployment compensation for the weeks ending July 4, 1981 through October 27, 1981.

The claimants were members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT). In September, 1980, the Board of Education of the City of Philadelphia (board) and PFT entered into what seemed to be a collective bargaining agreement extending over two years; that is, for the academic year September 1, 1980 through August 31, 1981 and September 1, 1981 through August 31, 1982. The agreement contained a commitment by the school district that it would not lay off any PFT members for reasons other than declining pupil enrollment.

In May, 1981, it became apparent that the 1981-1982 school budget would not be fully funded by the district's principal source of money, the City of Philadelphia.

[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 528]

The Educational Supplement to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, 351 Pa. Code ยง 12.12-303(a), requires the school district to operate within a balanced budget. In order to comply with this stricture, the board adopted a greatly reduced budget and on June 24, 1981, sent claimants the termination notices which we reproduce later in this discussion.

PFT thereafter filed suit in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County seeking specific performance of the collective bargaining agreement during the 1981-1982 academic year. On September 4, 1981, the court denied PFT any relief, holding that the contract was enforceable only to the extent that funding was available. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers v. Board of Education of the School District of Philadelphia (No. 4369 May Term, 1981, filed September 4, 1981). The PFT appealed and on October 27, 1981, this Court affirmed the decree of the common pleas court. We held that the school district and the PFT had not entered into an agreement extending in all events over two years but that they had agreed in essence with respect to two separate periods, the first, for the academic year September 1, 1980 through August 31, 1981, and the second, for the academic year September 1, 1981 through August 31, 1982; and that the duty of the school district to perform during each period was dependent upon the receipt of money to meet the budget. We concluded that since sufficient money for the 1981-1982 academic year was not provided by the city, the ...


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