The opinion of the court was delivered by: Van Antwerpen, District Judge.
Plaintiff David J. Basile ("Plaintiff") brings this action against
Defendants The Elizabethtown Area School District, The Elizabethtown Area
Board of School Directors, Dr. Allan L. Thrush, Debra Weaver, Steven
Houser, Carol Myers, Robert L. Enk, Barbara A. Hippensteel, A. John
Larue, Carol A. Miller, Michael S. Moulds, Jamie H. Rowley, Andrew L.
Saylor, Thomas M. Troutman, and Kathleen Weaver (collectively referred to
as "Defendants"), alleging that he was deprived of his right to a
veteran's preference in appointment to a non-civil service position. The
suit arises from Plaintiffs two failed attempts to secure a teaching
position with the Elizabethtown Area School District. Plaintiff asserts
claims for violations of the Fifth Amendment, Eighth Amendment, Ninth
Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also alleges as a pendent
state claim a violation of the Pennsylvania Veterans' Preference Act, 51
Pa.C.S. § 7104. The court has before it Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment; Plaintiffs Reply to Defendants' Motion; Plaintiffs
Motion for Summary Judgment; Defendants' Reply to Plaintiffs
Counter-Motion; Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs Reply; and Plaintiffs
Second Reply Brief.
On July 8, this court approved a stipulation by Plaintiff and
Defendants to decide this case as a non-jury matter on the basis of the
Parties' May 25, 1999 stipulation of facts and without a formal trial. We
adopt as our findings of fact, under Fed.R.Civ. Pro. 52(a), each of the
following numbered paragraphs, taken directly from the jointly-prepared
Statement of Facts submitted by the parties. These facts are sufficient
to enable us to render a decision on the issues the parties have
Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1343 and 1367(a).
Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391 (b).
1. The School Board for the Elizabethtown Area School District ("School
District") has not approved any written policy regarding Veterans'
Preference. The School District has not adopted any written policy
regarding Veteran's Preference.
2. The School Board, the Superintendent and the interview team are
aware of the Veteran's Preference Act ("VPA").
3. The team that interviewed Mr. Basile has never applied a Veterans'
Preference policy to any candidate.
4. The School District receives several hundred applications annually
for elementary school teaching positions.
5. Each of these applications is reviewed by at least one member of the
elementary school interview team, which consists of principals or acting
principals of the elementary schools in the School District.
6. Each applicant must submit a completed application, three
recommendations, a copy of his or her resume, a copy of his or her
teaching certificate, and certifications for criminal record and a child
abuse checks. The applicants, having supplied the required documents, are
referred to as candidates.
7. The candidates are divided in alphabetical order among members of
the interview team.
8. Each team member uses a district approved form, the Review of
Application for Professional Employment, to rate the applicants on various
areas of competency.
9. The team also considers candidates who have previous classroom
experience and those who have dual certification in elementary and
special education. The team considers dual certification because a number
of the classrooms are to include students identified those needing
specially designed instruction.
10. For 1995 and 1996, the application form, Review of Application for
Professional Employment form and interview checklist do not contain any
reference to a candidate's military status.
11. The 1997 application form does mention U.S. military service, in
the "other qualification" section.
12. Each candidate is evaluated according to the characteristics in the
Review of Application for Professional Employment form, and is given a
rating of "A, B or C or unable to assess." The highest rated candidates
receive a C and are those first considered for interviews. Average
candidates are B candidates, and are rarely considered for interviews.
Candidates who will not be considered for an interview receive an A.
13. Requirements for successful candidates include: a 3.5 GPA on a 4.0
scale; an A grade in student teaching; involvement with students outside
of the candidate's college studies; some teaching experience; at least
three references extolling the qualities that the School District
believes are important; and the ability to write correctly and clearly,
as evidenced by the application. "C" candidates are those receiving the
highest ratings combining those factors.
14. A number of candidates serve as substitutes in the School
District, and are known to the principals for whom they work. The
principals will discuss their experience working with the substitutes when
the applications are being reviewed.
15. Long-term substitutes are observed and measured by the School
District's Approved Observation form, and those with strong observations
are given a preference for an interview over those who are not. Anything
less than a strong observation by a principal will preclude a long-term
substitute from receiving a C rating.
16. Day-to-day substitutes are also considered, but only if they
receive overall good reports from classroom teachers for whom they
substituted. Day-to-day substitutes who receive less than an overall good
report are precluded from receiving a C rating.
17. The interview team also considers previously interviewed
19. Once a candidate is selected to be interviewed, he or she is
interviewed by the available members of the elementary school interview
20. The interviewers use standard questions for each interviewee. They
complete an interview checklist, and take notes during the interview on
the candidate's answers.
21. To the best of the interview team's knowledge, none of the standard
questions specifically asked about a candidate's military status.
22. During the interview, the team inquires about a candidate's
background and experiences, and considers information contained in the
candidate's application or resume.
23. At the end of the interview a writing sample exercise is given to
the candidate. It is completed independently. If the candidate previously
completed a writing sample, then he or she would not be required to
complete the exercise.
24. After an interview, the interview checklist is completed.
25. The points on the checklist are totaled and averaged, with each
candidate receiving a rating score.
26. At the completion of the interviews, the team generally discusses
the candidates and ranks them according to their scores. The team then
determines a minimum threshold score, below which candidates are no
longer considered viable.
27. The minimum threshold score to qualify for the in-depth analysis
stage varies annually. The score is determined according to the quality
of the candidates and the number of positions available that year.
28. During the in-depth analysis stage, the interview team again
reviews the candidates. The following factors are considered: how well
the candidate matches a particular position, based on teaching
philosophy, teaching style, personality, school building and district
goals, and overall staffing considerations; the candidate's strengths and
weaknesses; and the quality of the candidate's experience and teaching
strategies. The interview team may choose to re-interview certain
29. During the in-depth stage no preapproved forms or checklists are
30. At the completion of the in-depth analysis stage, the only
remaining candidates are those the interview team feels are competent to
receive a job offer, pending a background check.
31. Normally there are more candidates than positions after the
in-depth analysis stage. The remaining candidates are grouped according
to their ...