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ABINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT v. WILLIAM G. PACROPIS (03/24/86)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: March 24, 1986.

ABINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
WILLIAM G. PACROPIS, APPELLEE

Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, in case of William G. Pacropis v. Abington School District, No. 83-18551.

COUNSEL

Robert A. MacDonnell, with him, Marc A. Landry, Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, for appellant.

Mark P. Widoff, Widoff, Reager, Selkowitz & Adler, P.C., for appellee.

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

Author: Palladino

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 136]

This is an appeal by Abington School District (District) from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County (trial court) which sustained an appeal by William Pacropis (Appellee) and ordered the District to reinstate Appellee to his proper seniority position. We affirm.

Appellee has been a professional employee of the District for twenty-five years, and has been assistant principal of the Abington Junior High School for the last eleven and one-half years. In 1983 the District reorganized its secondary schools. The reorganization included closing the Abington and Huntingdon Junior High Schools and moving into other school buildings the students who previously attended these schools. Because his job had been abolished, Appellee was demoted to a teaching position. It is undisputed that Appellee has more seniority than the person who is serving as assistant principal for the new junior high school.

Appellee appealed the demotion to the Abington School District Board of Directors (Board) which upheld the demotion. Appellee then appealed the Board's decision to the trial court. The trial court sustained the appeal, thereby reversing the Board's decision, and ordered

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 137]

    that the District reinstate Appellee to a position of proper seniority.*fn1

The District appeals the order of the trial court, asserting that Appellee's demotion is governed by Section 1151 of the Public School Code of 1949 (Code)*fn2 and not by Section 1125.1(c) of the Code.*fn3 In support of this assertion, the District argues that Section 1125.1(c) applies only to realignments which result in the suspension of professional employees.

The District acknowledges that this Court has held that Section 1125.1(c) applies whenever there is a realignment of professional staff whether the realignment results in a suspension or demotion. See Gibbons v. New Castle Area School District, 93 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 28, 32, 500 A.2d 922, 924 (1985), and the cases cited therein. The District suggests that we overrule this line of cases. This we decline to do.

[ 96 Pa. Commw. Page 138]

The trial court correctly concluded that: (1) the reorganization and consolidation of the secondary schools within the District constituted a realignment within the purview of Section 1125.1(c) of the Code;*fn4 and (2) the District did not comply with the legislative mandate that realignments must be made "so as to insure that more senior employes are provided with the opportunity to fill positions for which they are certificated and which are being filled by less senior employes."*fn5

Accordingly, we affirm the order of the trial court.

Order

And Now, March 24, 1986, the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, No. 83-18551, dated September 18, 1984, is affirmed.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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