|CENTENNIAL EDUCATION|||||CASE NO. 44|
|v.|||||FINDINGS OF FACT,|
|SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 67-R|||||LAW, AND ORDER|
|OF SEWARD COUNTY,||||
|NEBRASKA, also known as||||
|Centennial Public Schools,||||
|Utica, Seward County,||||
This case came on for trial on July 14, 1971, on the Petition and Answer of the parties, evidence was presented, oral arguments given, and briefs submitted thereafter.
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. Jurisdiction of the Court. Centennial Education Association is the representative of the certificated teachers in the Centennial Public Schools. The Association is a "labor organization" and the school district an "employer" as defined in section 48-801(4) and (6). The parties are subject to the provisions of the Nebraska Teachers Professional Negotiations Act (sections 79-1287 to 79-1295). The parties reached agreement on all matters except base salary and percentage factors of the index salary schedule under the Nebraska Teachers Professional Negotiations Act. On April 13, 1971, the fact finding board constituted under the Professional Negotiations Act recommended a basis for settlement of the dispute (see section 79-1293). The membership of the association accepted the recommendations of the fact finding board and authorized the initiation of this suit in the event that the school district did not also accept the recommendations. The school district rejected the recommendations of the fact finding board and submitted a counterproposal to the Association. By a vote of 20 to 10, those attending a meeting of the Association voted to accept the school district's counterproposal, but the motion did not carry because of the lack of a quorum, a quorum being two-thirds of the voting members of the Association. Thereafter, a mail vote of the members of the Association was held on whether or not to accept the counterproposal of the school district and ended in a tie vote of 20 to 20.
Section 48-811 provides that "Any employer, employee, or labor organization, or the Attorney General of Nebraska on his own initiative or by order of the Governor, when any industrial dispute exists between the parties as set forth in section 48-810, may file a petition with the Court of Industrial Relations." See also section 25-313. From the evidence, we find that the Association was authorized to initiate this suit and that such authority has not been altered or rescinded. The Association and School District have not reached a voluntary agreement as the 1971-1972 base salary and percentage factors of an index salary schedule. This is a "controversy concerning terms, tenure and conditions of employment" within the definition of "industrial dispute". Section 48-801(7).
Section 48-810 provides:
All industrial disputes involving governmental service, service of a public utility, or other disputes as the Legislature may provide shall be settled by invoking the jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations; Provided, such court shall have no jurisdiction over any persons, organizations, or school districts subject to the provisions of the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations Act, sections 79-1287 to 79-1295, Revised Statutes Supplement, 1967, until all provisions of such act have been exhausted without resolution of the dispute involved.
Insofar as section 48-810 is concerned, the provisions of the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations Act became exhausted in this case when the school district rejected the recommendations of the fact finding board as a method of settling the industrial dispute. The parties continued to negotiate following the fact finders' recommendations, but these further negotiations were properly carried on under the authority of Chapter 48, Article 8.
2. Authority to establish or alter teachers' salaries. The Defendant contends (see paragraph 4 of Answer) that section 48-810.01 bars a wage determination hearing by this Court. By its terms, section 48-810.01 is clearly inapplicable to an order or orders of the Court under section 48-818 establishing or altering the scale of wages, hours of labor, or conditions of employment, or any one or more of the same. A judicial order establishing or altering any of these items is not compelling a political subdivision to enter into a contract or agreement. It is the order and not a contract or agreement which must be given effect. Agreement of the Governmental subdivision is not required either to enter or to effectuate an order under section 48-818. Such an order would not constitute a contract or agreement with a "labor organization" which is the cruz of section 48-810.01. Defendant's interpretation of these sections would effectively nullify the provisions of section 48-818, at least in any case where a "labor organization" was involved. This interpretation would be at variance with the legislative history of the enactments and the prior interpretation of this Court in its Opinion in Support of Order Overruling Demurrer, pages 1 to 9, entered January 17, 1968, in Public Service Employees Council v. Metropolitan Utilities District, Case No. 21. Section 48-818 was substantially modified as a part of LB 15 in 1969 and was certainly intended by the Legislature to be a viable part of the statutes applicable to industrial disputes between Nebraska governmental employers and employees. This judicial and legislative history is entitled to great weight. See IBEW v. City of Hastings, 179 Neb. 455, 138 N.W.2d 822 (1965). The legislative history of the enactment of section 48-810.01 in 1967 is set out and applied in the Order of January 17, 1968, in Case No. 21, above.
The Defendant also contends (see paragraphs 3, 4 and 7 of Answer) that an order of this Court under section 48-818 would be at variance with section 79-802 that "All schools organized within the limits of such cities shall be under the direction and control of the boards of education authorized by section 79-803." But this statement avoids the controlling legal and constitutional principle that a school district is, itself, wholly a creature of state statutes and can exercise its statutory powers only in the manner specified by state statutes. See School District No. 74 v. School District of the City of Grand Island, 186 Neb. 728, 186 N.W.2d 485 (1971); Mann v. Wayne County Board of Equalization, 186 Neb. 752, 186, N.W.2d 729 (1971).
3. Nature of the present industrial dispute. During the 1970-1971 school year, Centennial teachers were paid in accordance with the following index salary schedule, having a base salary of $6,350.00 and increments of 5% vertically for longevity and 4% horizontally for additional education (in 9 hours increments to MA and for MA + 12):
NOTE: SALARY SCHEDULE DELETED.
The total salaries for the 49 teachers shown on the above schedule for 1970-1971 was $381,057.00. No teacher was employed at the level of "MA+12" or above Step No. 8 last year. For the 1969-1970 school year, the teachers had been paid on a $6,000.00 base with index increments of "5x4".
Prior to impasse under the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations Act, the parties reached agreement on all items except base salary and index increments. school district contributions for insurance were left at $150.00 annually. The association dropped its requests for additional district paid health insurance benefits and for increased sick leave benefits. The school district agreed to place extra duty assignments in the individual teacher contracts "if feasible". An additional class period could be assigned a compensation of 15% of base salary with the agreement of the teacher concerned. The two teachers with "less than BA" in 1970-1972 are to be placed on the index schedule at BA Step 1 (1.05) for 1971-1972 upon attaining a degree.
A majority of the fact finding board established after impasse recommended a base salary of $6,500.00 with increments of 5% vertically and 4% horizontally. The school board representative dissented and recommended the board's last bargaining proposal. The number of vertical columns and steps in each column was apparently left unchanged in this recommendation. See Exhibit 4. The total teacher salaries projected for this recommendation, assuming that all 49 teachers were to return in 1971-1972 without acquiring additional graduate education and placing the two "less than BA" teachers at BA Step 1, was estimated at $403,641 ($6,450 x 62.58; see Exhibit 4). Actually, this figure would probably be higher than that actually involved by the recommendation. Fifteen teachers were not planning to return to the Centennial district at the time of the hearing (and three of four administrators). Since new teachers are likely to be hired at the same or lower levels than the nonreturning teachers, and since they would not be entitled to the automatic 5% vertical increase for experience in the district, it is likely that the total effect will be to reduce the projected figure. The evidence did not establish which teachers would not be returning and the levels upon which the new teachers hired would be entering the index schedule. For that reason, it is necessary to employ the 1970-1971 teacher placement on the index schedule (with the increase of one year's experience and changing the two "less than BA" teachers) for comparative purposes in deciding this case.
Continuation of the $6,350 index schedule with "5x4" increments into the 1971-1972 would, on the same hypotheses, have involved total teacher salaries of $397,383 ($6,350 x 62.58). Prior to impasse, the school district offers were less than a straight continuation of the 1970-1971 index schedule. The school board originally took a no change position; that is, that the teachers should receive the same dollar amount in 1971-1972 as they had received in 1970-1971. Later the board offered two alternatives. One alternative was a $6,400.00 base with "4x4" increments and an agreement that no teacher would be reduced in pay. The other was that the $6,350.00 base and "5x4" increments would remain, but no automatic 5% increase for longevity would be given this year and instead the teachers would each receive a flat $150.00 raise. The total teacher salaries under each of these alternatives would, on the same hypotheses as set out above, have been approximately $388,500.00.
The precise proposal extended by the school district after it had rejected the fact finding board's recommendation was not introduced in evidence. The testimony was not wholly clear as to its terms. It involved the same base pay of $6,350.00 and increments of "5x4" but apparently deleted the following steps from the vertical columns: steps 7 and 8 deleted from BA plus 9, steps 9 and 10 deleted from BA plus 18, and all steps after step 10 deleted from BA plus 27, MA, and MA plus 12. This would have affected only three of the 49 teachers. Assuming that the agreement not to reduce a teacher's salary applied, the effect of this would be to deny the 5% increase to the three teachers, a total salary figure of $952.00. The total teacher salaries under this proposal would, on the same hypotheses as set out above, have been $396,430.50.
From these figures, then, there is likely to be less than $7,210.50 actual cost in the difference between the amount of the school district proposal after rejecting the fact finders' report and the cost of implementing the fact finders' report. The cost of each $100 in salary base is computed at $6,258.00. The industrial dispute was, therefore, brought to this Court at a time when the parties had settled all other items in the negotiations and were within roughly $7,210.50 of agreement on the total salaries for all Centennial teachers for 1971-1972.
The teachers have signed individual contracts for 1971-1972, apparently on the basis of a $6,350 base salary with "5x4" increments, but with the following condition:
"The contractual salary, plus compensation for any additional duties assigned for the 1971-1972 school year, will be subject to pending litigation between the Centennial Board of Education and the Centennial Teachers Association."
The execution of individual contracts under the mandate of section 79-1254, in the circumstances of this litigation, does not constitute an abandonment of the representative relationship provided under Chapter 48, Article 8, or the Teachers' Professional Negotiation Act, or the jurisdiction of this Court to settle industrial disputes, including a determination under section 48-818. See Hastings Education Association v. School District of Hastings, Case No. 42, Order (overruling Motion for Summary Judgment) entered July 15, 1971.
4. Statutory criteria for an order establishing or altering the scale of wages. Section 48-810 directs that "All industrial disputes involving governmental service....shall be settled by invoking the jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations". Section 48-818, the controlling section in this proceeding, provides:
The findings and order or orders may establish or alter the scale of wages, hours of labor, or conditions of employment, or any one or more of the same. In making such findings and order or orders, the Court of Industrial Relations shall establish rates of pay 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 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. Any order or orders entered may be modified on the court's own motion or on application by any of the parties affected, but only upon a showing of a change in the conditions from those prevailing at the time the original order was entered.
Section 48-818 was extensively considered and amended in 1969 in LB 15. As presently drawn, it is an important section in the Nebraska government employee labor relations statutory system. The 1969 Legislature carefully designed LB 15 so that it would apply to persons, organizations and school districts subject to the professional Negotiations Act after all provisions of that act have been exhausted without resolution of the dispute involved. See section 48-810, discussed in Opinion As to Jurisdiction, filed March 12, 1971, in Cases Nos. 35, 36, and 38. there is no comparable provision under the Professional Negotiations Act. The terms of section 48-818 control the resolution of disputes as to salaries and wages of all governmental employees, including teachers.
Section 48-818 requires that the Court shall establish rates of pay "which are comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid....for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions.' In a sense, this statutory language as to "comparable" and "prevalent" requires the Court to measure the settlement of the industrial dispute before the Court by the standards set by the "peers" of the parties before the Court. The Court is directed by this statute to examine the wage rates paid "for the same or similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions." The statute also directs the Court to take into consideration "the overall compensation presently received by the employees". It is only by the application of these statutory standards that the Court is authorized to establish or alter the scale of wages, hours of labor, or conditions of employment.
a) Effect of the fact finders' report in a determination under section 48-818. Section 79-1293 of the Nebraska Teachers Professional Negotiations Act provides:
If the parties are unable to agree on any such matters, the dispute shall be submitted to a fact-finding board composed of one member selected by the board of education or school board, one member selected by the employee organization, and a third member selected by the two members appointed by the parties. If the members appointed by each party fail to agree upon a third member, within ten days after their selection, they may request the State Department of Education to submit a list of five persons deemed qualified to serve as member of such board. Upon receipt of such list, the members selected by the parties shall alternately strike names until one remains, and the person not stricken shall become the third member.
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. Such recommendations shall receive the good faith consideration of the parties as a method of settling the dispute but in no case shall they be binding on the school district.
The fact finding board in this case consisted of Ray L. Svehla, Richard Halama, and David B. Downing. Mr. Svehla is the Attorney for the Centennial Board of Education in this matter and was acting as its representative on the fact finding board. Mr. Halama is a negotiations consultant for the Nebraska State Education Association. Mr. Downing was the third member appointed by the representative of the parties. The evidence sets out his excellent qualifications for acting as a fact finder. He is an attorney, has been involved in these procedures several times this year by agreement of the school boards and local associations involved, and has represented his own City's board of education in these matters.
The fact finding board was supplied with comprehensive brochures setting forth the positions of the parties and supporting information. Two meetings of the board were held. Mr. Halama and Mr. Downing recommended that the parties should agree upon a base of $6,450.00 for the 1971-1972 school year with 5% steps down and a 4% across for every nine hours. Mr. Svehla recommended the Centennial Board's last proposal at the time of impasse, which was a $6,400.00 base, with increments of 4% both down per year and across for every nine hours.
The plaintiff contends that this Court should attach "special significance" to the recommendations of the fact finding board. By this, plaintiff urges that the Court should give great weight to a fact finding report where it is shown by the evidence that the fact finding board considered the various items upon which comparability is required to be based under section 48-818 and where the recommendations of the fact finding board can be termed "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."
Plaintiff's argument in support of attaching "special significance" to the recommendations of the fact finding board proceeds along three lines. First, it is urged that if the Court attaches "special significance" to the recommendations, the parties will give their greatest "good faith consideration" to the report as a method of settling the dispute, as required in section 79-1293. If the court ignores the recommendations, so will the parties, according to plaintiff's argument. At least where one party does not accept the recommendations of the fact finding board, plaintiff argues that the burden of discrediting the report or explaining the reasons for rejection of the recommendations should rest with that party. Second, plaintiff argues that if "special significance" is not attached to the fact finding recommendations, the parties will be hesitant to agree with the third member of the fact finding board because this will constitute a new position insofar as any further negotiations may be concerned, or insofar as a determination by this court is concerned. Third, plaintiff argues that the fact finding recommendations are, in effect, entitled to "special significance" as a sort of expert opinion as to the best method of settling the industrial dispute. It contends that insofar as teacher negotiations are concerned, as distinguished from other governmental employers and employees, there is a legislative determination of primacy of the Nebraska Teachers' Professional Negotiations Act which is effectuated by the recommendations of a fact finding board when the parties are unable to agree on any matters subject to collective negotiations.
We conclude that in making the factual determinations required by section 48-818, the Court should not attache "special significance" to the recommendations of the fact finding board. The use of the word "shall" in section 48-818 makes that section's criteria as to prevalence, comparability, and overall compensation mandatory on the Court. Section 49-802 provides:
Unless such construction would be inconsistent with the manifest intent of the Legislature, rules for construction of the statutes of Nebraska hereafter enacted shall be as follows:
(1) When the word may appears, permissive or discretionary action is presumed. When the word shall appears, mandatory or ministerial action is presumed.
The standards under section 48-818, under which we are bound to decide this case, are not necessarily the same as those applied by fact finders under section 79-1293. For example, a fact finding board might simply seek as "a basis for settlement of the dispute" under section 79-1293 whatever terms and conditions it concluded might become acceptable to both of the parties. Milford Education Association v. School District of Milford, Case No. 43, Findings and Order entered July 15, 1971.
The relationship of the Professional Negotiations Act to Chapter 48, Article 8, was considered in LB 15 which substantially amended section 48-818. The Court can act under section 48-818 only after all of the provisions of the Professional Negotiation Act have been exhausted without resolution of the dispute involved. Section 79-1293 provides that the recommendations of the fact findings board shall receive good faith consideration by the parties "but in no case shall they be binding on the school district." See also section 48-810.01. Section 48-818, however, does invoke a binding adjudication on the school district. From this statutory language and legislative history, it would appear that the legislature did not intend to put the school district in a position of having either to discredit the fact finding report or justify its refusal to follow the recommendations.
The differences in the composition of fact finding boards and this Court are also indicative of the separate roles served by fact finding and adjudication. A fact finding board under section 79-1293 consists of one representative of each of the parties involved. In this case, the attorney for the school district represented the district and a negotiations consultant for the Nebraska State Education Association represented the local association. The third member was a person chosen by the two representatives of the parties, but, had the parties been unable to agree, he would have been selected by an elimination process from a list supplied by the State Department of Education. Section 48-805 requires that "The judges of the Court of Industrial Relations shall not be appointed because they are representatives of either capital or labor". Section 48-804, as amended by LB 15, provides that "Such judges shall be representative of the public." The appointment of judges of this Court by the Governor is subject to the advice and consent of the Legislature, and the judges take the constitutional oath of office. This Court, therefore, must be divorced from the results of its decisions by having no interest in this matter before it. Two of the three members of a fact finding board, however, may not be able to divorce themselves from the recommendations of the fact finding board.
The procedures of a fact finding board, at least in the present case, are inherently different than the procedures specified in Chapter 48, Article 8. Section 79-1293 contains no statutory rules of procedure or evidence. Section 48-812, under which this Court must act, provides that "proceedings before the court shall conform to the code of civil procedure applicable to the district courts of the state." Evidence in this Court is subject to the ordinary rules of admissibility. See sections 48-809 and 48-817. Evidence in court is subject to oath and cross examination. The court has power to issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and for the production of documents. Section 48-817 contains a special provision relating to judicial notice. The section also requires the Court to make written findings and orders. The records of this Court are public records.
Despite the showing that the fact finding board considered the overall compensation of teachers in comparable school districts, the evidence available to the fact finding board is different than the record on which this Court now acts. For one thing, it was necessary at the time the fact finding board met to employ almost exclusively 1970-1971 figures. There had been few 1971-1972 settlements reported by that time. The fact finding board noted that increases had been running about $100 in base for 1971-1972 but the 1971-1972 settlements for a much larger number of schools have been introduced in the evidence at the present trial. There is more complete and more reliable evidence in the present record as to the criteria of section 48-818 than was available to the fact finding board. In addition, there was some material in the documents presented to the fact finding board which would not be admissible, over objection, as direct evidence for a determination under section 48-818.
The rule requested by the plaintiff would involve the Court in a hearing and adjudication with respect to the procedures and deliberative processes of the fact finding board. It would be necessary to litigate in each case whether or not the fact finding board did actually consider properly the same material as required under section 48-818 in making its decision under section 79-1293. This might become unnecessarily difficult and unproductive. The essential element is the Court's determination of those matters required by section 48-818, and the added burden of the extent to which another board may have considered those items, although not compelled by statute to do so, seems unnecessary. Unless it is established judicially that the criteria of section 48-818 have been fulfilled, it would be error for the Court to establish the wages or conditions of employment. And without a full hearing as to the basis of the fact finders' report, plaintiff's contention that the parties will give greater consideration to the report if the Court is likely to attach a "special significance" to its recommendations goes beyond section 79-1293 ("in no case shall they be binding on the school district"), as well as section 48-818.
It is also probable that in some cases a rule attaching special significance to the fact finders' report could leave a party to take an extreme bargaining position during negotiations with the hope that the board's recommendations would be in the middle ground between the last bargaining positions of the parties. Stability can result from the knowledge of both parties from the outset that the criteria of section 48-818 will be applied as the final adjudicative process in settling the industrial dispute. This is likely to result in greater consistency between comparable school districts and between the recommendations of fact finding boards, themselves. The result is also likely to serve as an incentive for school districts to agree to negotiate broadly under the Professional Negotiations act; a determination that the fact finders' report is entitled to special consideration in this Court might deter school boards from agreeing to negotiate under that act.
For the above reasons, we conclude that in making the factual determinations required by the second and third sentences of section 48-818, the Court should not attach "special significance" to the recommendations of the fact finding board established under the Professional Negotiations act. This does not automatically render the report inadmissible for all purposes in evidence in the Court of Industrial Relations. The report may be admissible for purposes of showing that all of the provisions of the Professional Negotiations Act have been exhausted without resolution of the dispute involved, as required under section 48-810. It may be relevant to the existence of an industrial dispute as defined in section 48-801(7). Under Chapter 48, Article 8, the Court can order the parties to negotiate or take other action to settle a pending industrial dispute. The first sentence of section 48-818 employs the term "may" and, for that reason, whether or not the court enters an order under the section is intended to involve some discretion. The history of the negotiations, including the fact finders' recommendations and the parties actions taken with respect thereto, may be relevant to the appropriateness of the exercise of the Court's discretion whether or not to order bargaining or enter an order under section 48-818. In School District of Seward Education Association v. School District of Seward, Case No. 34, Findings and Order filed August 9, 1971, the Court relied on the history of the negotiations and the litigation between the parties in support of the finding that the form of the order entered would carry out and effectuate the purposes of chapter 48, Article 8. The fact finders' report, therefore, may be admissible under the Court of Industrial Relations statutes for some purposes but not for other purposes. In setting the amount of the salaries the Court must, itself, from all of the evidence in the record of the trial, make the determinations under the second and third sentences of section 48-818 without attaching "special significance" to the recommendations of another body. The Court must, itself, make the statutory determinations as to comparability, similarity, prevalence, and overall compensation under section 48-818.
b) Effect of the absence of a showing that the school board acted unreasonably. Defendant's answer (paragraph 6) alleges that the offer of the board after fact finding, upon which the teachers' vote was split by a 20 to 20 tie, was fair and reasonable and that the board has not acted in an arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner, or abused its statutory discretion. Section 48-810 requires the Court to settle an industrial dispute properly before it and section 48-818 specifies how the Court shall enter an order as to wages. As discussed above, it is only by application of the statutory criteria of section 48-818 that the Court can establish or alter teachers' salaries. The evidence in this case does not indicate that the school board acted unreasonably. Nor is there any evidence that the school board abused its statutory discretion. These are not essential elements in a determination under section 48-818. The plaintiff does not need to plead or prove unreasonable actions or an abuse of discretion to institute suit under section 48-811. These allegations do not directly affect the determinations under section 48-818 in setting the amount of the 1971-1972 teachers' salaries.
5. Determinations under section 48-818. From the evidence in the record, we determine that the Salary Schedule for the Centennial School District for 1971-1972 should, pursuant to the provisions of section 48-818, be ordered by this Court to be a base salary of $6,400.00 with index increments of 5% vertically and 4% horizontally. This salary schedule is effective for the 1971-1972 school year only. The number of vertical columns and steps on each column shall be the same as contained in each column contained in the 1970-1971 Salary Schedule. The administration of the index increments shall be the same as the practices during the 1970-1971 school year. Except as altered by the order for this schedule, the other aspects of the compensation and terms and conditions of employment presently set or agreed upon for the 1971-1972 school year shall remain unchanged by this Order.
Exhibit 7 contains a summary and listing of information relating to schools which are members of the Capitol Athletic Conference, nearby Class B schools, or recently consolidated rural districts like Centennial, or a combination of these elements, for 1971-1972. Both parties testified that the nearby York district and the recently consolidated Central-Raymond district and the recently consolidated Central-Raymond districts are especially similar to Centennial and that Centennial, at present and in the recent past, has tended to compare its teacher salaries with those in the York School District. Exhibit 8 is a summary of many 1971-1972 negotiation agreements reached prior to the trial of this case. Exhibit 9 contains salary schedules for most Nebraska school districts for 1970-1971.
From an examination of all of the evidence, we find that the Centennial salaries should be established at a $6,400.00 base with index increments of "5x4" and with the same number of vertical columns and steps in each column as the present schedule. This places Centennial at the approximate mid-point in terms of overall compensation among the spectrum of the comparable school districts shown in the evidence. It also aligns Centennial comparably with the York school District as to total teacher compensation.
We have carefully examined both the separate elements of the index schedule and the total teacher salaries which may be involved in adopting such a schedule for the Centennial School District. The present case was initiated on behalf of all teachers in the Centennial School District. All teachers are paid on the same index schedule. They also receive the same insurance and other fringe benefits. As we held in Milford Education Association v. School District of Milford, Case No. 43, Findings and Order filed July 15, 1971, it is the total teacher compensation which should be compared with the salary schedules and benefits of other comparable school districts. The dollar amount of the salary base is of special concern to entering and relatively new teachers in the district. Exhibit 4 shows that 12 of Centennial's 1970-1971 teachers will be at BA Step 1 if they return in 1971-1972. There will be 15 new teachers in the district in 1971-1972. The amount of $6,400.00, set by the Court, standing alone, is below the approximate mid-point of base salaries of the comparable school districts shown in the evidence. But the number of steps in the vertical columns for the Centennial district is greater than the approximate average of the comparable school districts shown in the evidence. The number of steps in the vertical columns (and the number of vertical columns) together with the cumulative effect of the index factors, is of special concern to teachers having longevity in the district, especially teachers with substantial additional education beyond the level of BA. Five Centennial teachers will be located in 1971-1972 at Steps on the present Centennial schedule beyond those contained on the York schedule.
This effect of actual teacher placement on an index schedule must be considered in carrying out the provisions of section 48-818. To make this evaluation the total teacher salaries of comparable school districts must be compared. It would be preferable to make these comparisons with respect to the actual teachers now engaged to teach at Centennial in 1971-1972, but since this evidence is not a part of the present record, we have made these comparisons on the basis of the teacher placement projected for 1971-1972 in Exhibit 4. For reasons discussed above, it is likely that the actual cost of the district would be lower than these projected figures, but, especially for comparative purposes, this method will accurately apply the criteria of section 48-818 in this case. For example, according to plaintiff's brief, if the 49 Centennial teachers shown on Exhibit 4 were placed on the York schedule for 1971-1972 shown in exhibit 7, the total teacher salaries would be $400,594 (possibly this figure should be $404,402; 62.23 x 6,500). A $6,500 base for the same teachers on the Centennial schedule would be $406,670. The reason for the difference is the five Centennial teachers who would be placed on steps beyond those of York's schedule. The difference is more clearly demonstratable in the case of Arlington, a conference school, with a base of $6,650, and, like Centennial, increments of "5x4", but with significantly fewer steps for longevity than the Centennial schedule. The same 49 Centennial teachers would receive only $398,468.00 in total salaries even though the base salary is higher. On the 1971-1972 schedule shown for Central-Raymond with a base of $6,400 and increments of "5x5", the same 49 teachers would receive total salaries of $399,040. A $6,400.00 base with "5x4" increments on the Centennial schedule for the 49 teachers shown on Exhibit 4 would be $400,472.00. It is, therefore, necessary to consider not only the base salary and index increments of teacher salary schedules in comparing overall compensation but also to consider the effect of the number of vertical columns and the steps in each column as well.
From all of the evidence, we find that, in terms of overall compensation, a salary schedule with a base of $6,400.00 and increments of 5% vertically and 4% horizontally, and with the same number of vertical columns and steps on each column as the present schedule, will best apply the statutory requirements of section 48-818.
In making these findings and orders, the Court finds, from the evidence in the record, that a scale of wages for the Centennial teachers with a base salary of $6,400.00 and index increments of 5% vertically and 4% horizontally is 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 Court has taken 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.
6. Federal Economic Stabilization Act. The scale of wages set by this Order appears to be presently subject to the limitations of the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970, as amended, as recently implemented by President Nixon. Formal directives under the federal law are not yet available, but the expressed intention following the President's announcement, reported in the press, was that negotiations now in process should proceed to a settlement. This Order is not intended to direct or authorize the payment of any amount of salaries or wages in excess of the amount allowable for the teachers under the controlling federal statutes, orders, or regulations.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that:
1. The scale of wages for certificated teachers employed by the Defendant School District No. 67-R of Seward County, Nebraska, also known as Centennial Public Schools, Utica, Seward County, Nebraska, for the 1971-1972 school year shall be computed in accordance with an index schedule having a base salary of $6,400.00, index increments of 5% vertically and 4% horizontally, and the same number of vertical columns and steps on each column as contained in the 1970-1971 salary schedule. This scale of wages shall be effective for the 1971-1972 school year only. The administration of the index increments shall be in conformity with the practices during the 1970-1971 school year. Except as specified in this paragraph, the other aspects of compensation and terms and conditions of employment presently set or agreed upon for 1971-1972 shall remain unchanged by this Order.
2. This Order does not compel either party to enter into any contract or agreement, written or otherwise.
3. The Motion to Dismiss made by the Defendant at the conclusion of the trial is hereby overruled.
Entered and filed this 18th day of August, 1971. Judge Henatsch and Judge Kratz did not participate in the hearing of this matter or in the consideration or entry of the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order.