ShareThis Page

After defeat in Westmoreland County court, vo-tech teachers file appeal

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Penn-Trafford School District was under no obligation in 2010 to hire any of the math teachers who were furloughed that year by the Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center for an open position in the district, a Westmoreland County judge ruled last month.

But the three teachers who remain parties in the lawsuit against Penn-Trafford — Colleen Conko of Mt. Pleasant, Sabine Lynn of Belle Vernon and Daniel Lusk of Bentleyville — decided on Dec. 19 to appeal Common Pleas Judge Richard McCormick's Dec. 4 ruling to the state Superior Court.

The former vo-tech teachers say the state Transfer of Entities Act required Penn-Trafford to hire among them when a district math teacher resigned.

But Penn-Trafford's attorneys said the teachers failed to give any evidence why district officials should give them priority.

McCormick agreed with district officials.

“Here, the school district withdrew its students from the math class at CWCTC and enrolled them in the existing math classes at the high school,” McCormick wrote in his opinion. “The math class that was at CWCTC was not dismantled and then reconstituted at the high school. No additional classes or sections were added to the then-existing mathematics curriculum at the high school with this change.”

Penn-Trafford was among nine Westmoreland school districts that decided in 2010 to pull its vo-tech students from the center's math classes.

District officials have said that Penn-Trafford students in the vo-tech's math classes were scoring poorly on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSA, test.

Conko, Lynn and Lusk filed a similar suit against the Jeannette City School District in 2012.

Conko and Lusk also were among four plaintiffs who sued the Greensburg Salem School District for similar reasons last month.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.