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UPPER MERION AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT v. UPPER MERION AREA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (03/08/89)

decided: March 8, 1989.

UPPER MERION AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT
v.
UPPER MERION AREA EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County, in the case of Upper Merion Area School District v. Upper Merion Area Education Association, No. 86-08452.

COUNSEL

Richard J. Tompkins, with him, Francis P. O'Hara, Fox, Differ, Callahan, Ulrich & O'Hara, for appellant.

A. Martin Herring, A. Martin Herring & Associates, for appellee.

Judges Palladino and Smith, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 82]

Upper Merion Area School District (School District) appeals an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County (trial court) dismissing its petition for review of an arbitrator's award entered in favor of Upper Merion Education Association (Union). We affirm.

The School District and the Union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement which incorporated the provisions of the Public School Code of 1949 (Public School Code), Act of March 10, 1949, P.L. 30, as amended, 24 P.S. ยงยง 1-101 to 27-2702, and provided for the arbitration of grievances.*fn1 John Adiletto, Jr. (Grievant) was employed as a temporary professional employee by the School District, beginning on December 4, 1979. On June 2, 1980, the Board of School Directors of the School District (Board) voted to reduce the size of the teaching staff for the 1980-1981 school year because of declining student enrollment.*fn2 At the Board's July 28, 1980 meeting, the Board voted to suspend certain teachers,

[ 124 Pa. Commw. Page 83]

    including Grievant. By letter dated August 7, 1980, Grievant was advised of the suspension.

Grievant's suspension ended on September 7, 1982, at which time he was again employed as a temporary professional. On May 23, 1983, the Board again determined to reduce the size of the teaching staff because of declining student enrollment. On July 25, 1983, the Board voted to suspend certain teachers, including Grievant. By letter dated July 28, 1983, Grievant was notified of the suspension.

The minutes of the two Board meetings did not indicate whether the Board awarded continuing seniority to Grievant during the periods of his suspension. However, both of the letters which Grievant received from the president of the Board, notifying him of the respective suspensions, stated that his seniority would continue to accrue during the periods of suspension.

In September of 1984, Grievant once again became employed as a temporary professional. By letter dated February 25, 1985, Grievant was advised that he had been awarded tenure and was therefore no longer a "temporary" professional. By letter dated August 15, 1985, the School District superintendent notified Grievant that his seniority had been inaccurately calculated to include those periods when he had been suspended. Accordingly, the School District stated that it was reducing his seniority from 5.7 years to 2.7 years.

The Union thereafter filed a grievance on behalf of Grievant, contending that the School District unilaterally took away seniority which it had previously granted to Grievant in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The grievance ultimately proceeded to ...


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