Before: Honorable Joseph T. Doyle, Judge, Honorable Rochelle S. Friedman, Judge, Honorable Jess S. Jiuliante, Senior Judge. Opinion BY Judge Friedman.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Friedman
OPINION BY JUDGE FRIEDMAN
The present case concerns the validity of the Act of July 11, 1996, P.L. 619 (Act 105), which provides, inter alia, for collective bargaining and binding interest arbitration with respect to school administrators in cities of the first class. *fn1 On December 4, 1996, the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Inc. (PSBA), the Philadelphia School District (District) and David Hornbeck, Superintendent of the District, (collectively, Petitioners) filed a five-count petition for review in the nature of a complaint in equity addressed to this court's original jurisdiction. Counts I, II, IV and V of the petition for review allege that the collective bargaining provisions of Act 105 violate various provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution. Count III of the petition for review alleges that, because the enactment of Act 105 failed to comply with certain procedures established by the Code for obtaining approval of the state budget, the Governor violated his constitutional duties to faithfully execute the laws and to return any bill of which he does not approve when he signed Act 105 into law.
Petitioners request this court to declare the challenged provisions of Act 105 to be unconstitutional or not applicable to the District and to permanently enjoin the Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, Teamsters Local 502 (CASA), from seeking to enforce the provisions of Act 105 regarding collective bargaining and binding interest arbitration for school administrators. *fn2
On December 20, 1996, CASA filed preliminary objections to the petition for review and, on January 30, 1997, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Governor Thomas J. Ridge and Secretary of Education Eugene Hickok (collectively, Commonwealth Respondents) also filed preliminary objections to the petition for review. Both sets of preliminary objections are now before the court for Disposition. *fn3
The parties in this case have not stipulated to the facts relating to the enactment of Act 105. This court, however, can take judicial notice of the Legislative Journals, as well as the various versions of Senate Bill No. 1251, the bill ultimately enacted as Act 105. League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth, 692 A.2d 263, 1997 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 133, *5 (Pa. Commw., 1997). For purposes of ruling on the preliminary objections now before us, we shall adopt the following relevant facts set forth by the chancellor in his opinion on Petitioners' application for preliminary injunction.
1. On October 17, 1995, Senate Bill No. 1251, Printers' Number 1472 was introduced and referred to the Committee on Military and Veterans Affairs. The original version of Senate Bill No. 1251 proposed an amendment to the Administrative Code of 1929 . . . and contained provisions relating to the Scotland School for Veterans' Children.
2. Senate Bill No. 1251 was ultimately passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by the Governor on July 11, 1996 as Act 105 of 1996. The bill, as enacted, contained additional provisions, inter alia, ". . . SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BETWEEN SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS IN SCHOOL DISTRICTS OF THE FIRST CLASS AND THEIR PUBLIC EMPLOYERS; PROVIDING FOR ARBITRATION IN ORDER TO SETTLE DISPUTES; REQUIRING COMPLIANCE WITH COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS AND FINDINGS OF ARBITRATORS; . . . ."
3. Under Act 105, some 900 employees of the Philadelphia School District, including all principals and assistant principals of the Philadelphia Public Schools, are considered school administrators subject to the collective bargaining and arbitration provisions of Act 105.
4. Most of these employees would be considered managerial employees under the Public Employe Relations Act (PERA) *fn4, and as such would not be subject to the collective bargaining provisions of PERA.
5. By letter dated September 4, 1996, respondent notified the School District of its intention to demand collective bargaining.
6. On January 21, 1997, CASA filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), alleging that the School District had committed an unfair labor practice by refusing to bargain with CASA. The PLRB, by decision dated February 11, 1997, declined to issue a complaint, concluding that it had no jurisdiction to do so under either Act 105 or PERA.
7. On March 10, 1997, CASA requested the appointment of a board of arbitrators pursuant to Act 105, and, on March 14, 1997, appointed its member of the board. By letter dated March 14, 1997, the School District, while maintaining the unconstitutionality of Act 105, appointed its member to the board of arbitration.
8. Arbitration pursuant to Act 105 is continuing as of [April 16, 1997].
Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Inc. v. Commonwealth Association of School Administrators, Teamsters Local 502 ( No. 1129 M.D. 1996, filed April 16, 1997)(single Judge opinion by Morgan, J.).
First, we will discuss the petition for review filed by Petitioners, followed by a Discussion of the preliminary objections to the petition for review filed by CASA and Commonwealth Respondents.
On December 4, 1996, Petitioners filed their five-count petition for review, which was addressed to this court's original jurisdiction. In Count I of the petition for review, Petitioners allege that Act 105 violates Article 3, Section 14 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which requires a "thorough and efficient" system of education, because Act 105's collective bargaining provisions hamper cooperation and communication between the highest levels of the District's administration and middle management personnel, and because those provisions constitute an unfunded mandate to engage in collective bargaining and interest arbitration. In Count II of the petition for review, Petitioners make the general allegation that the legislative process employed by the General Assembly in passing Act 105 violated Article 3, Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. *fn5 In Count II, Petitioners also allege that Act 105 violates Article 3, Section 32 of the Pennsylvania Constitution because Act 105 is a "local" or "special" law regulating labor and the affairs of a school district. *fn6
In Count III of the petition for review, Petitioners allege that the enactment of Act 105 allegedly failed to comply with the procedures for obtaining approval of the state budget established by Sections 613 and 619 of the Code, 71 P.S. §§ 233, 239, and, thus, in signing Act 105 into law, the Governor violated Article 4, Sections 2 and 15 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which require him to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" and to return any bill of which he does not approve to the House in which it originated. Petitioners argue that the Governor failed to follow the procedures for budget approval required by Code sections 613 and 619 and, therefore, Act 105 is invalid because "the budgetary impact and budgetary requirements implicated by the collective bargaining and interest arbitration provisions contained in Act 105 were: (a) never referred to or displayed as a line item in any appropriation bill; (b) never displayed or justified as a separate item ...