10 CIR 42 (1988), Summarily Affirmed March 22, 1989.


An Unincorporated Association, |
Petitioner, |
Subdivision of the State of |
Nebraska, |
Respondent. |


For the Petitioner: Mark D. McGuire

Crosby, Guenzel, Davis,

Kessner & Kuester

400 Lincoln Benefit Building

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

For the Respondent: John F. Recknor

Barlow, Johnson, DeMars & Flodman

1227 Lincoln Mall

P.O. Box 81686

Lincoln, Nebraska 68501

Before: Judges Peetz, Orr, and Mullin



The Petitioner Association filed a Petition on March 2, 1988, seeking a Section 48-818 wage determination for the teachers employed by the Respondent for the 1987-88 school year. The Respondent School District is a Class I school district which employs six teachers. The 1987-88 enrollment in the district was 79. A Pretrial Conference was held in this case on April 5, 1988, where the issues were determined to be:

Base salary

Structure of the index salary schedule

Health insurance coverage for less than full-time teachers

Length of the 1987-88 school year (contract days)

The Commission has jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter of this action pursuant to Section 48-818 R.R.S. 1943, (Reissue 1984) which provides in part:

...the Commission of Industrial Relations shall establish rates of pay and conditions of employment which are comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid and conditions of employment maintained for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions. In establishing wage rates the commission shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard not only to wages for time actually worked but also to wages for time not worked, including vacations, holidays, and other excused time, and all benefits received, including insurance and pensions, and the continuity and stability of employment enjoyed by the employees...


The arrays presented by the Association and the District for comparison with Inman have three school districts in common: Adams County No. 15, Buffalo County No. 15, and Hall County No. 3. Additionally, the Association presented: Burwell, Chapman, Hyannis, Juniata, Phelps County No. R74 and Thedford. The District proposed the following additional school districts: Holt 2 (Page Elementary), Long Pine (Brown 4), St. Libory and Springview (Keya Paha 56). Table 1 sets out the relevant information presented by the parties concerning the proposed array members.

At the outset, it is important to point out that neither party presented substantial evidence as to the similarity of work, skills and working conditions between Inman and the proposed districts. The parties did not stipulate as to the similarity of work, skills and working conditions. The Association's expert testified that in his opinion the school districts presented by the Association were sufficiently similar to Inman to allow comparison. The District's only witness testified as to familiarity with just one of the District's proposed array members - Holt 2. Even then, the District's witness presented testimony concerning Holt 2 that conflicted with the District's own exhibit R-6 allegedly compiled by the president of the Holt 2 School Board. Although we do at this point overrule the Association's objections to the District's Exhibit R-6, which is the survey document concerning Holt 2, and receive the exhibit into evidence, we find that the testimony concerning the exhibit causes us to lend little, if any, credibility to the exhibit.

The Association presented its underlying survey documents. With the exception of the survey of Holt 2, which has little value, the District did not present any reliable underlying data on any of its proposed array members. The summary documents presented by the District set out base salary, staff index factor and total compensation including fringe benefits, but little more. It is impossible from the evidence presented by the District to determine how the District arrived at its overall compensation figure. Furthermore, the District did not present any evidence of the number of contract days in each district even though it raised the length of the school year as an issue.

As to the District's exhibits that were received, all foundational objections concerning information on Holt 2 and Long Pine (Brown 4) were sustained. Respondent's Exhibit R-8 which was the alleged affadavit concerning the contract in effect in Springview was determined to be irrelevant. The Association also objected on the grounds of competency and/or relevancy as to the information on the District's Exhibits, R1 and R2, concerning Springview and St. Libory. While we reserved ruling at trial, it is apparent from the record that the Association's objections should be and are hereby sustained.

While the Commission is usually faced with the task of determining which out of a long list of school districts are most similar and thus most comparable, in the present case we are faced with determining if there is sufficient evidence as to any of the districts proposed so as to allow comparison. We find that there is sufficient evidence to support including all of the Petitioner's proposed districts but there is insufficient evidence to allow us to include any of the Respondent's proposed array members other than the commons. The districts proposed by the Association fit within our general size criteria and are geographically proximate enough for a Class I school district comparison. See Juniata Education Ass'n v. School District No. 1 , 9 CIR 173 (1987). While the Association's evidence could have been stronger, it did present sufficient testimony concerning similarity of work, skills and working conditions for its proposed array members. Thus, the array for purposes of comparison with Inman will consist of Adams County No. 15, Buffalo County No. 15, Burwell, Chapman, Hall County No. 3, Hyannis, Juniata, Phelps County R74, and Thedford.


The Respondent District requests that the Commission establish the length of the 1987-88 school year, yet, the District did not present an exhibit demonstrating what procedure it suggests the Commission follow or even listing the number of contract days in effect in its proposed districts. It is important to note that, at this point, the school year is over and the teachers have already worked a certain number of contract days. Regardless of what number of days the teachers actually worked, the number of contract days is relevant for purposes of adjustment. See Logan County Education Ass'n v. School District of Stapleton , 10 CIR 1 (1988).

At trial, the Petitioner introduced a document which was not listed as an exhibit at pretrial. The exhibit appeared to be a Teachers Contract for 1987-88, signed by both an Inman teacher and a representative of the District's School Board. When questioned, the principal of Inman testified that all of the Inman teachers had similar contracts with the District and that all of the teachers were, by the terms of the agreement, contractually obligated to 183 days of service for the 1987-88 school year. (T105:13-25 and T106:1-6) While the Commission reserved ruling on the exhibit at trial we now determine that Petitioner's Exhibit 8 is admissible and will be received as a rebuttal exhibit.

The Teachers Contract sets out the number of days the district could require the teachers to work and the number of days the teachers were obligated to work. As in Logan supra the Commission cannot compel the parties to agree on some number other than what is in the contract or rewrite the contract to change the duties and obligations of the parties. Thus, the number of contract days is 183 for purposes of adjustment.


The School District in Inman currently gives part-time employees the same benefits it gives full-time employees, that being, full family or single health insurance coverage with dental. The District seeks to have this condition of employment changed to the prevalent.

As Table 2 indicates there is no clear prevalent practice evidenced by the Commission's chosen array. Two districts provide the same benefit as Inman to full-time employees: one of which gives part-time employees full benefits if their full time equivalency is .5 or greater while the other prorates the amount contributed based on the teachers full-time equivalency (FTE) ratio. All of the other districts provide something less than full family/single health with dental: three prorate their respective contributions to the FTE ratio, one provides full benefits, one provides full benefits if FTE is .5 or greater, one provides 50% benefits if FTE is .5 or greater, and one doesn't give part-time teachers any benefit at all. The party seeking to effect a change must present evidence that the district is not comparable. The Commission will not order that a condition of employment be changed unless there is a showing of a clear prevalent and its effects on the overall compensation presently received by employees. There being no such showing here as to a clear prevalent or any effect on overall compensation, the health insurance benefits provided part-time teachers shall remain the same.


The District requests that the Commission change the number of steps in each column and eliminate the Bachelors + 36 attainment as being the equivalent of a Masters Degree on the Inman salary schedule. The Association contends that the current salary schedule is comparable and should remain the same.

Table 3 indicates the prevalent number of steps in each column and also shows that out of the nine member array, seven districts treat a Bachelors + 36 attainment the same as a Masters. Therefore, the Inman salary schedule is comparable to the prevalent and shall not be changed.


The sole remaining issue for resolution by this Commission is base salary. Table 4 sets out the overall compensation data on the Commission's array. Applying the statutory criteria of Section 48-818 to the evidence in this case we find that the base salary for the teachers at Inman for the 1987-1988 school contract year should be $13,507.00, based on a staff index of 7.3.


1) That the base salary for the teachers of the Inman School District (Holt No. 30) shall be $13,507.00 for the 1987-1988 school year.

2) That the amount due for that portion of the contract pay period already elapsed shall be paid in a single sum with the payroll check issued next following issuance of the final order entered herein.

3) That all other conditions of employment for the teachers employed by the School District for the 1987-1988 contract year shall be as previously established by the agreements made by the parties.

All judges assigned to the panel in this case join in the entry of these Findings and Order.

Entered July 14, 1988.