Original jurisdiction in the case of School District of Lancaster County v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of the Auditor General.
Robert M. Frankhouser, Jr., Hartman, Underhill and Brubaker, for petitioner.
Charles D. Shields, Jr., with him, James L. McAneny, for respondent.
Grace E. D'Alo, Assistant Counsel, with her, Mary M. Rogers, Chief Counsel, for Amicus Curiae, Department of Education.
Judges Craig and Doyle and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr., MacPhail, Doyle, Barry and Colins. Opinion by Judge Doyle. This decision was reached prior to the resignation of Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 301]
The School District of Lancaster (School District) has filed a petition for review with our Court seeking an order directing the Office of the Auditor General (Auditor General or Auditor) to conduct a hearing on the question of whether certain School District teachers had been properly certified.
The facts are not in dispute. On March 28, 1983, the Auditor General filed an audit report of the School District's financial statements for the 1980 and 1981 school years. The report concluded that the School District had employed four improperly certified teachers in 1980 and six improperly certified teachers in 1981, and therefore recommended that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (Department) withhold $25,689.00 in future education subsidies. The School District appealed to this Court, alleging that
[ 88 Pa. Commw. Page 302]
the audit report's finding of improper teacher certification was not based on an evidentiary hearing, did not contain specific findings of fact and was unsupported by substantial evidence. On May 9, 1984 this Court filed a memorandum opinion in which we remanded, holding that the audit report was an adjudication subject to the notice and hearing requirements of Section 504 of the Administrative Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 504.*fn1 In that opinion we relied upon our previous holding in School District of Lancaster v. Department of Education (Lancaster I), 73 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 246, 458 A.2d 1024 (1983), noting that neither party had asked that the merits of Lancaster I be reconsidered.*fn2 Thereafter the Auditor General filed an application for reargument, later joined by the School District, requesting argument on whether or not the Court should overrule its decision in Lancaster I. The application for reargument was granted, and the matter was then heard before the Court en banc.
The School District and the Auditor General have now filed a joint brief in which they argue that, contrary to our holding in Lancaster I, an audit report is not an adjudication because it contains no final order, but merely contains recommendations subject to final approval by the Department.
In Lancaster I, we quashed an appeal from the Department of Education's decision upholding the recommendations of an Auditor General's report, concluding that under our decision in Pennsylvania Auditor General v. East Washington Borough, 23 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 382, 351 A.2d 687 (1976), it was the Auditor General's report itself that ...