|MILFORD EDUCATION|||||CASE NO. 43|
|v.|||||FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS|
||||OF LAW, AND ORDER|
|SCHOOL DISTRICT OF MILFORD,||||
|IN THE COUNTY OF SEWARD, IN||||
|THE STATE OF NEBRASKA, A||||
This case came on for trial on May 14, 1971, on the Petition and Answer of the respective parties, evidence was presented, briefs were submitted thereafter, and oral arguments were given following the briefs.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
From the pleadings, evidence, arguments, and briefs, the Court makes the following Findings of Fact and reaches the following Conclusions of Law.
1. Effect of individual teachers' contracts. The maintenance of this suit is not barred by the execution of individual teachers' contracts in conformity with the provisions of section 79-1254. Despite the provisions of the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations Act and of Chapter 48, Article 8, it was incumbent on the teachers to return individual contracts in order to insure their retention in the Milford school system for the 1971-1972 school year. See Balka v. School District of Lisco, 184 Neb. 706, 171 N.W.2d 646 (1969). We have set out the applicable statutes and reasoning more fully in the Order overruling Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed today, in Hastings Education Association v. School District of Hastings, Case No. 42. In addition, the contracts in this case were presented with blank spaces where salary figures were later inserted, indicating even more clearly that the representative relationship established under the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations Act and Chapter 48, Article 8, was not being waived or abandoned by the individual teachers.
2. Authority to act under section 48-818. The Defendant contended that the Court cannot act under section 48-818 because teacher contracts must be in writing (section 79-1248) and the Court cannot compel a school district to enter into a contract with a labor organization (section 48-810.01). After the time this position was presented in Defendant's Brief, the Court rejected this contention in Case No. 34, School District of Seward Education Association v. School District of Seward. See Memorandum Opinion, filed June 22, 1971.
3. Effect of the Fact Finders' Report. The Plaintiff contends that the unanimous report of the three fact finders appointed under the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations act is entitled to "great weight" in this Court's making a determination under section 48-818. The evidence was that the fact finders, acting under section 79-1293, primarily sought a recommendation which both parties would find acceptable. Section 79-1293 provides that "Such fact-finding board shall hear and review the matters relating to the dispute and shall within thirty days render a report of its opinion which shall recommend a basis for settlement of the dispute." Section 48-818, however, contains important statutory requirements which this Court must consider and apply in making a determination under that section. For these reasons, this Court cannot attach significance to the recommendations of the fact finding report in this matter in making an adjudication under the provisions of section 48-818.
4. The section 48-818 determination. Section 48-818 provides that the Court "may establish or alter the scale of wages, hours of labor, or conditions of employment, or any one or more of the same." The section contains the legislative criteria upon which this Court must act in making findings and entering orders on these subjects. It should be noted that this section came on for reexamination and amendment by the 1969 Nebraska Legislature in LB 15. The section states:
"In making such findings and order or orders, the Court 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 court 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 school district adopted a 1971-1972 salary schedule having a base of $6,500, with increments of 5% per year for longevity in the district and 5% for 12 hour units of additional education beyond the Bachelor's level. The district will contribute $10 per month for health insurance premiums.
From the evidence, we conclude that the overall compensation presently set for 1971-1972 by the Milford school district is comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid for other comparable teachers by other comparable school districts. For this reason, we determine that the Court should not alter the compensation presently set by the Milford school district.
In making this determination we have examined the evidence submitted by both parties under the standards of section 48-818, as amended by LB 15 in 1969. The Plaintiff's evidence featured 1970-1971 salary schedules for a large number of Nebraska school districts, a summary of 1971-1972 negotiations agreements which had been reached at the time of the trial, and detailed comparisons of Milford with conference and area schools. Defendant's evidence related largely to the overall economic impact of the total teacher compensation package of all Milford teachers, and a comparison of the total Milford teacher compensation projected for 1971-1972 with the costs under the schedules and benefit programs of other school districts.
Plaintiff sought an increase in the proposed milford compensation in three respects: (a) that the salary base be increased from $6,500 to $6,600; (b) that the index increment for additional education be applied on 9 hour steps instead of twelve hour steps (at least up to the Masters level); and (c) that the insurance contribution be increased from $10 per month to $11 per month. Plaintiff's argument was directed mainly to the individual items for which an increase was sought. Defendant weighed the total teachers compensation for Milford against other school districts. Since the present case was initiated on behalf of all teachers in the Milford school district, and since all of the teachers are paid on the same index schedule and receive the same insurance benefits, it is the total Milford teacher compensation which should be compared with the compensation schedules and benefits of other comparable school districts. This is in compliance with the sentence in section 48-818 that "In establishing wage rates the court 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."
In carrying out the provisions of section 48-818 in this case, it is necessary to compare the entire overall compensation from the schedule and other benefits provided by the district. The fact that most other comparable school districts, for example, base the increment for additional education in 9 hour steps is not alone controlling that Milford should employ 9 hour steps. Many other comparable school districts do not employ index increments as high as Milford's "5 x 5". A number of districts pay insurance premiums in excess of $10 per month but some districts pay none. Milford had 749 students this year. Of 29 school districts having between 500 and 999 pupils for which the evidence set out the terms of agreements for the 1971-1972 school year, 11 had a base figure below $6,500, 11 used a $6,500 base and 7 had a base in excess of $6,500. Of these 29 school districts, only one district provides overall compensation which would clearly be greater for the Milford teachers than the compensation set for 1971-1972 by the Milford school district. There was no allegation that the Milford compensation for 1970-1971 was not comparable with that of other comparable districts. The overall compensation for 1971-1972 allows an increase of 7.1%over that of 1970-1971.
We have examined the evidence submitted by both parties in this case. From this evidence, we determine that in terms of overall compensation, for the individual teachers, the schedule for 1971-1972 for the Milford school district is comparable to the prevalent rates of other comparable teachers.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that the Petition of the Plaintiff be, and it hereby is, dismissed.