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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 cforeman@tribweb.com.

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