15 CIR 362 (2007) 


an Unincorporated Association, )
                                  Petitioner, )
Subdivision of the State of Nebraska, )
                                  Respondent. )


For Petitioner: Mark D. McGuire
McGuire and Norby
605 South 14th Street
  Suite 100
Lincoln, NE  68508
For Respondent: John F. Recknor
Recknor, Williams, and Wertz
2525 "N" Street
P. O. Box 30246
Lincoln, NE  68503-0246

Entered July 23, 2007.

Before: Judges Lindahl, Blake and Cullan



Winside Education Association (hereinafter, “Petitioner” or “Association”) filed a wage petition on February 13, 2007, seeking resolution of an industrial dispute for the 2006-2007 contract year. The Association is a labor organization formed by teachers employed by Wayne County School District No. 90-0595, a/k/a Winside Public Schools (hereinafter, “Respondent” or “District”) for the purpose of representation in matters of employment relations. The District is a political subdivision of the State of Nebraska and a Class III school district.

            The Commission of Industrial Relations (hereinafter, “Commission”) held a Trial on May 30, 2007. The issues presented at Trial are contained within the Commission’s Report of Pretrial filed on May 1, 2007. Evidence regarding Respondent’s issues of sick leave and cumulative sick leave was not admitted at trial and will not be considered.


The Commission has jurisdiction over the parties and subject matter of this action pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-818 (Reissue 1998) 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…



The Association proposes thirteen school districts for its array. The District proposes that eleven school districts be used in its array. The common array members are Wisner-Pilger, Emerson-Hubbard, Allen, Osmond, and Wausa. The contested array members proposed by the Petitioner are Laurel-Concord, Pender, Randolph, Stanton, Battle Creek, Wakefield, Clarkson, and Hartington. The contested array members proposed by the Respondent are Neligh-Oakdale, Northeast Lyons-Decatur, Ponca, Bancroft-Rosalie, Leigh, and Wynot.

In determining a proper array, the parties agree that the work, skills, and working conditions of Winside Public Schools’ teachers are sufficiently similar for comparison under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-818 (Reissue 1998) to all of the common and contested array members.

The Commission has held that if potential array members share similar work, skills, and working conditions, the Commission will include all of the schools submitted in the array unless there is specific evidence that to do so would be otherwise inappropriate or would make the array unmanageable. Geneva Educ. Ass’n v. Filmore County School Dist. No 0075, 11 CIR 38 (1990); Lynch Educ. Ass’n v. Boyd County School Dist. No. 0036, 11 CIR 25 (1990). Even in such cases, the Commission does not disregard the size and geographic guidelines. See, Id. The Commission need not consider every conceivable comparable, but only “a sufficient number in a representative array so that it can determine whether the wages paid or the benefits conferred are comparable.” Nebraska Pub. Employees Local Union 251 v. County of York, 13 CIR 157 (1998).

            In the instant case, Petitioner followed the Commission’s previously delineated method which utilizes size and geographic guidelines. The Petitioner arrived at its array by going out 31 miles and including all schools which were half to twice the size of Winside. This method produced a result of thirteen schools.

The Respondent followed a different methodology. In arriving at its array, the Respondent’s Superintendent, Donavon Leighton, utilized a concentric circle fifty miles around Winside, which produced a result of 34 schools. He then listed the 34 schools in dollar order from highest to lowest. Then, starting with the highest dollar school and working his way down the list, Mr. Leighton placed each of the schools in three separate array piles, consecutively. After he had placed all of the schools in each of the three arrays, he then removed the pile containing twelve schools due to the fact that the array contained both the highest and lowest dollar schools. Mr. Leighton admitted that he then chose the lowest dollar array pile between the two remaining array piles.

Petitioner’s array contains a sufficient number of schools, utilizing the Commission’s long-standing criteria and guidelines. The Commission will include all of the Petitioner’s array schools in its array. The Respondent’s additional six array schools will not be included because the Respondent’s methodology is not based upon the standard objective criteria established by the Commission. The Respondent removed some array members based upon “cost” to the district. Therefore, the Commission’s array will consist of Wisner-Pilger, Emerson-Hubbard, Allen, Osmond, Wausa, Laurel-Concord, Pender, Randolph, Stanton, Battle Creek, Wakefield, Clarkson, and Hartington.


            The Respondent argues that the two teachers who currently have extended contracts at Winside should be placed in the compensation analysis study with enhanced FTEs (Full-time Equivalency). In doing this, the Respondent takes the FTE time the employees staff index factor to arrive at a different staff index factor that is higher than the staff index factor proposed by the Petitioner. The Petitioner argues that the two teachers extended contracts should not be used to enhance each of their FTEs.

            The Commission in Wheatland Educ. Ass’n v. School Dist. No 112, 5 CIR 64 (1980), stated that the rationale of the Commission’s decision in Fremont Educ. Ass’n v. School Dist. of Fremont, 3 CIR 492 (1978) should be controlling. In Fremont, the Commission found that in figuring total teacher compensation (because it is based upon the assumption of fungibility of certified teachers), extra duty pay cannot be included in total compensation in determining base salaries. The Commission in Wheatland concluded that extended contract pay was extraneous to the Commission’s calculation as extra duty pay. Therefore, the Commission would not include extra duty pay or extended contract pay in total compensation when adjusting base salary.

            Furthermore, in the instant case, it is clear that including extended contract pay in the total compensation is not a prevalent practice. Only Hartington includes extended contract pay and the remaining districts include extra duties on a per diem basis. Accordingly, because of the Commission’s longstanding practice of not including extended contract pay as part of total teacher compensation and since the facts do not support a prevalancy of schools in the array including extended contracts as part of total teacher compensation, the Commission will not include extended contracts in this case as part of total teacher compensation. Therefore, the total staff index factors shall be as shown on Table 1.


Petitioner requests that the Commission order the Respondent to pay for the full insurance premium, starting retroactively on September 1, 2006. It is prevalent for the Respondent to pay for the full insurance premium for EHA $300 deductible health and accident insurance for teachers electing dependant and individual coverage. Therefore, the Commission will order the Respondent to pay the full insurance premium for EHA $300 deductible health insurance and repay the teachers electing dependant coverage the sum of $87.24 per month and individual coverage the sum of $30.83 per month, for all months in which the Respondent did not pay the full insurance premium.

        Table 1* sets forth the relevant information for determining the appropriate base salary. The midpoint of the total compensation $1,265,799 minus the cost of fringe benefits of $241,604 equals $1,024,196 which, when divided by the new total staff index factor of  38.9200, equals a base salary of $26,315 for the 2006-2007 school year.


1.    Respondent shall pay the teachers a base salary of $26,315 for the 2006-2007 school year.

2.    The Respondent shall pay the full insurance premium for EHA $300 deductible health and accident insurance for teachers electing dependant coverage in the sum of $12,417 and for teachers electing individual coverage in the sum of $4,532. In paying the full insurance premium, the Respondent shall reimburse the teachers electing dependant coverage the sum of $87.24 per month and individual coverage the sum of $30.83 per month, retroactively to September 1, 2006 and up to the date such back payment is made. 

3.    All other terms and conditions of employment for the 2006-2007 school year shall be as previously established by the agreement of the parties and by the Opinion and Order of the Commission.

4.   Adjustments in compensation resulting from this order shall be paid in a single lump sum payable within thirty (30) days of this final order, if possible. 

All judges join in the entry of this order.