Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in the case of Gregory Waslo v. North Allegheny School District, No. S.A. 1317 of 1984.
Sandra Reher Kushner, with her, Stephen H. Jordan and Richard K. Olson, Jr., Rothman, Gordon, Foreman and Groudine, P.A., for appellant.
Alfred C. Maiello, with him, Lee V. Price, Maiello, Andrews & Price, and G. N. Evashavik, for appellee.
Judges Colins and Smith, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Smith. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.
[ 121 Pa. Commw. Page 35]
Appellant Gregory Waslo (Waslo) appeals from an order entered by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County affirming a decision by the North Allegheny School Board (Board) which upheld the suspension of Waslo from his position as an industrial arts teacher. The issue presented for review is whether Waslo was furloughed in violation of Sections 1125.1(a) and 1125.1(c) of the Public School Code of 1949 (School Code).*fn1 The trial court is affirmed.
Waslo was employed by the North Allegheny School District (District) on January 28, 1981 as a substitute industrial arts teacher to fill the temporary vacancy created by Randall Hart (Hart) who was employed by the District on May 14, 1975 as an industrial arts teacher. On January 21, 1981, Hart assumed the position of public relations coordinator, a non-professional position, during a one-year maternity leave taken by the District's permanent public relations coordinator. Both the Board and the District agreed that Hart would not lose his professional status while serving in the public relations position. On August 19, 1981, Hart assumed another
[ 121 Pa. Commw. Page 36]
position as administrator of support services, a professional position, and from August 20, 1981 to January 4, 1982, he performed the functions of both jobs. On January 4, 1982, upon return of the permanent coordinator of public relations, Waslo was given a temporary professional employee contract as Hart chose to remain in the position of administrator of support services.
Due to a realignment of staff, the District suspended Waslo effective at the conclusion of the 1983-84 school year. The District contended that Waslo's furlough was proper in order to relocate Hart, the more senior employee, whose position as administrator of support services was eliminated due to a substantial decline in student enrollment. As a result of his furlough, Waslo requested a hearing before the Board pursuant to Section 553 of the Local Agency Law, 2 Pa. C.S. § 553. After hearings conducted on July 10, 1984 and August 7, 1984, the Board affirmed Waslo's suspension. Waslo appealed the Board's decision to the trial court which affirmed the Board, whereupon Waslo petitioned this Court for review.*fn2
Waslo initially argues that Hart voluntarily vacated his professional position as an industrial arts teacher when he accepted a transfer into the non-professional public relations position, the effect of which terminated his status as a professional employee for purposes of accruing
[ 121 Pa. Commw. Page 37]
seniority within the meaning of the School Code. In support thereof, Waslo cites School District of Philadelphia v. Brockington, 98 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 534, 511 A.2d 944 (1986), appeal denied, 514 Pa. 644, 523 A.2d 1132 (1987); Fiorenza v. Board of School Directors of Chichester School District, 28 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 134, 367 A.2d 808 (1977); and ...