Appealed From No. 27 of 1996. Common Pleas Court of the County of Montour. Judge NAUS.
Before: Honorable Joseph T. Doyle, Judge, Honorable Rochelle S. Friedman, Judge, Honorable Jess S. Jiuliante, Senior Judge. Judge Doyle Dissents. Opinion BY Judge Friedman.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Friedman
OPINION BY JUDGE FRIEDMAN
The Danville Area School District (District) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of the 26th Judicial District, Montour County Branch (trial court), which affirmed an arbitration award granting modified retirement benefits to Judith Walter (Walter) pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement (Agreement) negotiated under the Public Employe Relations Act *fn1 (Act 195) between the District and the Danville Area Education Association (Association). We reverse.
Walter was a teacher in the District when she submitted a letter, dated May 13, 1992, indicating that she was seeking to retire at the end of the 1991-92 school year, and that she had served twenty-four years with the District's public school system. As a public school teacher, Walter made mandatory contributions to the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) pursuant to Section 8301 of the Public School Employees' Retirement Code (Retirement Code). *fn2 On June 2, 1992, the Board of School Directors (Board) accepted Walter's resignation. Having served in the District for twenty-four years, Walter, according to the terms of the Agreement, received a one-time retirement payment from the District for $675.14 at the end of the school year. To those retirees with over thirty years experience, however, the Agreement provided a greater retirement payment and a fixed amount for monthly reimbursement of medical insurance premiums, for a time certain after retirement.
The Agreement provides various benefits to which professional employees within the bargaining unit will be entitled upon retirement. Article XVIII provides the following:
Section 18.01 Full-time and substitute professional employees, upon permanent retirement from the field of public education with less than thirty (30) years of service in public education shall be paid for years of service with the Danville Area School District in accordance with the following tables:
Years Service DASD Rate Maximum
20 or less at $30/year $600
Over 20 to 30 at $35/year $1,015
Full-time professional employees with at least thirty (30) years of service in Public Education and who retire from the Danville Area School District shall receive the following:
(b) Actual Cost Up To $247.00 for monthly premium payment to continue their hospitalization and medical service plan (either individual or family) for a period of up to six (6) years from the date of ...