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UPPER BUCKS COUNTY AREA VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOL JOINT COMMITTEE v. UPPER BUCKS COUNTY VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (09/04/85)

decided: September 4, 1985.

UPPER BUCKS COUNTY AREA VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOL JOINT COMMITTEE, ET AL., APPELLANTS
v.
UPPER BUCKS COUNTY VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, ET AL., APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County in case of Upper Bucks County Vocational-Technical School Education Association, Winfield J. Hill, John Graf and Jamie Wescott v. Upper Bucks County Area Vocational-Technical School Joint Committee, Upper Bucks County Area Vocational-Technical School Joint Board, Palisades School District, Penn Ridge School District, and Quakertown School District, No. 82-4108-05-6.

COUNSEL

John J. Hart, Power, Bowen & Valimont, for appellants.

Lynne L. Wilson, with her, Catherine C. O'Toole, for appellees.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 464]

Before us is the appeal of the Upper Bucks County Area Vocational-Technical School Joint Committee (Vo-Tech) from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County (court of common pleas) which affirmed an arbitrator's award in favor of the Upper Bucks County Vocational-Technical Education Association (Association).

The facts in this case are undisputed. The original school calendar of the Vo-Tech for the 1980-81 school year called for school to begin on September 2, 1980 and end on June 9, 1981, providing 188 days of pupil instruction. In September, 1980, the Association engaged in a strike which closed the Vo-Tech for sixteen instruction days. Thereafter, the Vo-Tech and the Association engaged in collective bargaining which resulted in the execution of an agreement on October 16, 1980. The agreement covered the period from July 1, 1980 through June 30, 1983 and included the following

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 465]

    wage and salary provision: "During the 1980-81 school year originally scheduled for 188 days, salaries shall be reduced by 1/188 for each day not worked as a result of the strike and not made up at the discretion of the Joint Operating Committee."

In October, 1980, the Vo-Tech approved a calendar for the 1980-81 school year identical to that which had been adopted prior to the school year, thereby failing to make up the days lost because of the strike. Thus, the 1980-81 school year was to consist of 172 instruction days.

The Association and individual teachers then commenced an action in the court of common pleas seeking a declaratory judgment that the Vo-Tech is required to operate its school for 180 days in accordance with Section 1501 of the Public School Code of 1949 (Public School Code).*fn1 On May 22, 1981, the court of common pleas dismissed the action*fn2 based upon a finding that the Plaintiffs had no standing in the matter.*fn3

[ 91 Pa. Commw. Page 466]

Thereafter, on June 9, 1981, the Association filed a grievance on behalf of its members alleging that the Vo-Tech had violated the agreement by scheduling 172 and not 180 days of pupil instruction. In its grievance the Association sought sixteen days of pay to consist of eight days lost because of the Vo-Tech's failure to provide 180 days of instruction as required by Section 1501 of the Public School Code, and an additional eight days lost for the Vo-Tech's failure to reschedule the other eight days called for in the 188-day calendar adopted at the beginning of the ...


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