Furloughed Westmoreland teachers file suit over awarding of job
Five furloughed Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center teachers have sued the Greensburg Salem School District, claiming one of them should have been hired for an open math teaching job this year.
Colleen Conko of Mt. Pleasant, Kathy Evkovich of Irwin, Daniel Lusk of Bentleyville, Sabine Lynn of Belle Vernon and Marie T. Murphy of Hempfield, who have taught a combined 45 years and are all certified to teach math, filed the suit this week in Westmoreland County Court.
They claim they lost their jobs in 2010-11 when Greensburg Salem and nine other school districts decided to offer in-house math classes for their vo-tech students, rather than using math classes offered by the vo-tech school in New Stanton.
Belle Vernon Area, Frazier, Mt. Pleasant Area, Norwin, Jeannette, Hempfield Area, Penn-Trafford, Southmoreland and Yough are the other school districts, according to the civil complaint.
Earlier this month, county Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. dismissed a similar suit by some of the same teachers filed against Penn-Trafford. Those teachers have appealed that decision to state Superior Court, according to court records.
In filing the more recent suit for the five teachers, the Pennsylvania State Education Association asked the judge to rule that Greensburg Salem must fill secondary-school math vacancies using the furloughed teachers. The teachers further ask the court for any wages or benefits lost because of Greensburg Salem's actions this year, according to the complaint.
The suit was triggered when Greensburg Salem hired a full-time math teacher in June who wasn't one of the five furloughed teachers.
The teachers claim the state Transfer of Entities Act requires school districts to hire them for vacant positions. School district officials have contended otherwise in similar actions in county court.
McCormick ruled the transfer law did not apply in the Penn-Trafford case.
“The math class that was at (the vo-tech school) was not dismantled and then reconstituted at the high school,” McCormick's opinion states.
“Accordingly, we find — as did Commonwealth Court — that because there was no program or course ‘transfer,' there was no obligation on the part of the school district to hire one of the furloughed teachers,” the judge said.
New Castle attorney Katherine M. Voye, representing the five teachers, Greensburg Salem Superintendent Eileen Amato and district solicitor John Scales couldn't be reached for comment on Thursday.
Why the school districts decided to offer in-house programs is not stated in the complaint. Penn-Trafford officials said they wanted a change because of poor scores the vo-tech students were achieving on state tests.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Youngwood fire department, recalling community’s help in dark hour, reaches out to homeless family
- 11 Westmoreland inmates accused of setting fire put in solitary confinement
- Hempfield leaders kill zoning request for townhomes
- Sewickley Twp. to pay $10K for service breach
- Unity name excised from Latrobe parks, recreation
- Mt. Pleasant man charged with unlawful restraint
- Plenty of ‘pain’ to share, as Westmoreland County budget OK’d with $8M in cuts
- Demolition project at Oliver’s Pourhouse in Greensburg moves ahead
- Catholic Diocese of Greensburg bestows $30K to combat poverty
- New Stanton hopes to pick borough manager within next few weeks
- Home of LeNature’s exec up for sale