Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Maryleona Clapsaddle v. School District of Bethel Park, No. S.A. 754 of 1983.
Lloyd H. Fuge, for appellant/appellee, Maryleona Clapsaddle.
Mark R. Hornak, with him, A. Bruce Bowden, Buchanan-Ingersoll Professional Corporation, for appellee/appellant, Bethel Park School District.
Judges MacPhail, Colins and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 368]
Maryleona Clapsaddle (Appellant) appeals from a decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County which denied her appeal from an adjudication of the Board of School Directors (Board) of the Bethel Park School District (District) and remanded the case to the Board.
Appellant asserts that she was improperly suspended from her position as a professional employee for the 1981-82 school year.*fn1 Appellant concedes that the District was entitled to suspend a number of teachers due to declining enrollment pursuant to Sections 1124 and 1125.1 of the Public School Code of 1949 (Code),*fn2 24
[ 103 Pa. Commw. Page 369]
P.S. §§ 11-1124 and 11-1125.1. She contends, however, that she should not have been suspended because the District, which was required by Section 1125.1 to suspend teachers in inverse order of seniority, considered an incorrect date in determining her seniority rights.
Appellant was initially elected by the Board as a temporary professional employee on July 25, 1955. On July 11, 1958, she was certified as a permanent professional employee. Appellant resigned from this position on April 30, 1961. She did serve as a substitute teacher for the school years of 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66 and 1966-67.
In 1975, Appellant returned to teaching on a substitute basis. It is her appointment by the Board on December 16, 1975 which is at the center of the controversy. Appellant avers that her seniority rights should be computed from that date, while the District avers that her seniority rights should be computed from July 26, 1979, the date upon which she was appointed by the Board as a permanent professional employee. Both the Board in its adjudication and the Common Pleas Court in its opinion concluded that July 26, 1979 was the proper date. We must affirm this conclusion unless we find that the Board's adjudication violates the constitutional rights of the Appellant, that it is not in accordance with the law, or that any finding of fact necessary to support the adjudication is not supported by substantial evidence. Section 754 of the Local Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 754.
Section 1125.1(a) of the Code, 24 P.S. 11-1125.1(a), provides that " [p]rofessional employes shall be suspended . . . in inverse order of seniority. . . ." (Emphasis added.) Further, the District stipulated at the hearing that its policy is to compute seniority ...