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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. SCHOOL DISTRICT PHILADELPHIA (06/25/87)

decided: June 25, 1987.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, PETITIONER
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Board of Claims, in case of School District of Philadelphia v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare, Docket Nos. 873 and 875, dated March 31, 1986.

COUNSEL

Roger T. Margolis, Senior Attorney, with him, William D. Lenahan, for petitioner.

Patricia A. Donovan, Assistant General Counsel, with her, Andrew Rosen, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judge Colins, and Senior Judge Narick, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 118]

The Department of Public Welfare (Department) appeals a Board of Claims (Board) order directing it to reimburse the School District of Philadelphia funds improperly retained pursuant to 1980-81 and 1981-82 public welfare contracts. We reverse.

The two contracts controlled the Commonwealth's contributions to the School District's Get Set Day Care Program. For both contract years, the Department deducted monies for days schools were closed due to teacher strikes. Some $1,269,072, plus interest, is at issue herein.

The Board reasoned that the Department utilized improper methodology in deducting billed costs and hence it ordered that both contract years be fully funded.

In this appeal, the Department contends that the Board lacked jurisdiction over the matters because the School District complaints were not timely filed and that the Board committed an error of law in its interpretation of specific contractual provisions.*fn1

[ 107 Pa. Commw. Page 119]

Our scope of review of a final Board determination is limited to whether an error of law was committed or whether a necessary finding of fact was unsupported by substantial record evidence. Department of Public Welfare v. Divine Providence Hospital, 101 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 248, 516 A.2d 82 (1986).

Section 6 of the Act of May 20, 1937 (Act), P.L. 728, as amended, 72 P.S. ยง 4651-6, provides that:

The board shall have no power and exercise no jurisdiction over a claim asserted against the Commonwealth unless the claim shall have been filed within six months after it accrued. The claimants shall advise the department involved, in writing, of such claim, specifying the details thereof, and shall, within the same period, file with the secretary of the board a concise and specific written ...


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