Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County in case of Horace Bey v. Board of Education, School District of Philadelphia, No. 7922 March Term, 1982.
Hyman Lovitz, with him, Sidney L. Gold, Hyman Lovitz & Associates, for appellant/appellee, Horace Bey.
Eugene F. Brazil, General Counsel, for appellee/appellant, Board of Education, School District of Philadelphia.
Judges MacPhail, and Barry and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 572]
The Board of Education, School District of Philadelphia (Board) discharged Horace Bey from his employment. On appeal, the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County reinstated Bey because a necessary finding by the Board was not supported by substantial evidence. The court ordered Bey reinstated with back pay from April 25, 1983. Bey appeals only that back pay decision. The Board cross-appealed and
[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 573]
both appeals were consolidated for argument. We affirm the order of the trial court.
On June 26, 1981, Bey was notified of the Board's intention to dismiss him based on a charge of theft of school property. A hearing examiner held that there was insufficient evidence to support the theft charge and recommended that Bey be reinstated without back pay. However, on February 24, 1982, the Board terminated Bey. Bey appealed his discharge to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, and on August 24, 1982, the court, holding that there was no substantial evidence to support a finding of theft, granted Bey's appeal and remanded the matter to the Board for reconsideration of the penalty imposed. On April 25, 1983, the Board adopted a resolution which affirmed Bey's dismissal.*fn1 Bey again appealed to the trial court, which reversed the Board and reinstated Bey with back pay from April 25, 1983, the date the Board affirmed its original adjudication.
Both parties assert error in the trial court's disposition of the appeal. Our scope of review, like that of the trial court, is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, an error of law was committed, or whether a necessary finding of fact is unsupported by substantial evidence. Section 754(b) of the Local Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 754(b).
The Board contends that substantial evidence existed to support the finding of theft. Substantial
[ 87 Pa. Commw. Page 574]
evidence is that evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Morrone v. Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, 72 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 433, 456 A.2d 1143 (1983). The record shows that Bey had in his possession a school bag. Although he told the investigating officer that he had found it during the summer, the evidence reveals that the bag was not purchased by the school until late fall. After being charged with theft of school property, Bey stated that he found the bag in the trash in December. No other relevant evidence was received pertaining to this theft. While the record supports the conclusion that Bey lied ...