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APPEAL ANGELINE L. MCNELLY FROM A DECISION CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT AND BOARD SCHOOL DIRECTORS CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TERMINATING ANGELINE L. MCNELLY'S EMPLOYMENT. CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT (01/13/89)

decided: January 13, 1989.

APPEAL OF ANGELINE L. MCNELLY FROM A DECISION OF THE CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TERMINATING ANGELINE L. MCNELLY'S EMPLOYMENT. CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT. APPEAL OF CLAIRE M. JACKSON FROM A DECISION OF THE CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TERMINATING CLAIRE M. JACKSON'S EMPLOYMENT. CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT. APPEAL OF FRANCES MCCRAY FROM A DECISION OF THE CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TERMINATING FRANCES MCCRAY'S EMPLOYMENT. CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT. APPEAL OF VIDILIA MCDUFFY FROM A DECISION OF THE CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TERMINATING VIDILIA MCDUFFY'S EMPLOYMENT. CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT. APPEAL OF H. TERESA EDGE FROM A DECISION OF THE CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE BOARD OF SCHOOL DIRECTORS OF CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT TERMINATING H. TERESA EDGE'S EMPLOYMENT. CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT


Appeals from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, in the case of Appeal of Angeline L. McNelly from a decision of the Chester Upland School District and the Board of School Directors of Chester Upland School District terminating Angeline L. McNelly's employment, No. 86-9988; in the case of the Appeal of Claire M. Jackson from a decision of the Chester Upland School District and The Board of School Directors of Chester Upland School District terminating Claire M. Jackson's employment, No. 86-9989; in the case of the Appeal of Frances McCray from a decision of the Chester Upland School District and The Board of School Directors of Chester Upland School District terminating Frances McCray's employment, No. 86-9991; in the case of the Appeal of Vidilia McDuffy from a decision of the Chester Upland School District and The Board of School Directors of Chester Upland School District terminating Vidilia McDuffy's employment, No. 86-17585, and in the case of the Appeal of H. Teresa Edge from a decision of the Chester Upland School District and The Board of School Directors of Chester Upland School District terminating H. Teresa Edge's employment, No. 87-3016, dated June 4, 1987.

COUNSEL

Leo A. Hackett, Fronefield and deFuria, for appellant.

Anthony Carrozza III, Francis Pileggi Law Associates, P.C., for appellees, Angeline L. McNelly, Claire M. Jackson and Frances McCray.

James J. Byrne, Jr., Curran, Winning & Fioravanti, P.C., for appellee, Vidilia McDuffy.

Melvin A. Schwarz, Dechert, Price & Rhoads, for appellee, H. Teresa Edge.

Judges Craig, Barry and Smith, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Smith. Judge MacPhail did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Smith

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 603]

Appellants, Chester Upland School District (District) and the Board of School Directors of Chester Upland School District (Board) appeal from the June 4, 1987 order of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas reinstating Appellees Angeline L. McNelly, Claire M. Jackson, Frances McCray, Vidilia McDuffy and H. Teresa Edge with back pay and all benefits to their positions as non-professional employees with the District. The trial court is affirmed.

The appeals docketed at Nos. 1544 C.D. 1987 through 1548 C.D. 1987 arise under the same set of facts and will therefore be consolidated for disposition by this Court. Questions presented for review are whether Section 1106 of the Public School Code of 1949

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 604]

(Code)*fn1 prohibits the adoption of a residency requirement for non-professional employees; whether Section 1106 of the Code violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution and Article III, ยง 32 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution; whether the trial court abused its discretion in considering facts not of record; whether the trial court's distinction between Appellants and the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh school districts is supported by substantial evidence; and whether Appellants are precluded from enforcing their residency requirement by operation of the doctrines of equitable estoppel and laches.

On April 26, 1976, the Board enacted a resolution which required all non-professional employees hired as of that date to be residents of the District. This policy was amended on June 28, 1976 to require that all present non-professional employees must reside within the District as a condition of continued employment with the District.*fn2

Section 1106 of the Code was amended by the Act of June 24, 1980, P.L. 109 to prohibit residency requirement for employees in school districts except districts of the first class and first class A. In 1983, Appellants instituted a declaratory judgment action in this Court challenging the constitutionality of the statutory residency requirement. Chester Upland School District v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 90 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 464, 495 A.2d 981 (1985). The case was dismissed as Appellants did not present an actual case or controversy.

[ 122 Pa. Commw. Page 605]

Appellants thereafter began enforcement of the District's residency requirement. Angeline McNelly, library aide; Claire Jackson, accounts payable clerk; and Frances McCray, library aide, were terminated on August 9, 1985. Vidilia McDuffy, secretary, and Teresa Edge, library aide, were terminated on July 7, 1986 and September 22, 1986, respectively. Appellees filed an action in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas following their termination. On June 4, 1987, the trial court ordered and directed that Appellees be reinstated to their former positions with back pay and all benefits. The trial court issued its opinion on October 29, 1987, holding that the terminations violated Section 1106 of the Code; that Section ...


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