3 CIR 109 (1976).


An Unincorporated Association, |
Plaintiff, |
In the County of Saunders, |
In the State of Nebraska, A |
Political Subdivision, Also |
Defendant. |

Appearances: For Plaintiff, Theodore L. Kessner

For Defendant, Edwin C. Perry

Before: Judges Wall, Kratz and Rudolph


In this case the Yutan Education Association seeks a determination of wages and certain fringe benefits under Section 48-818 of the Nebraska Revised Statutes.

Though the School District of Yutan, hereinafter called school District of Yutan, declined to recognize the Yutan Education Association, hereinafter called Association, and enter into negotiations for the 1975-76 year, it did invite Association representatives to attend a School District board meeting to discuss wages and conditions. Five members of the Association attended the meeting and presented a proposal to the Board. There was no further discussion between the parties, and the Board subsequently announced it would pay a base salary of $7,600.00 with full single coverage Blue Cross-Blue Shield health insurance. All other benefits would remain as they were in the prior year. The Association responded to this announcement by advising the Board, by letter, that although the teachers were signing and returning their contracts, they did not thereby intend to relinquish their right to bring their dispute to this Court.

This Court has consistently concluded that the signing of individual teachers' contracts does not bar relief from this Court. Hastings Education Association v. School Dist. , 1 CIR 42-1 (1972); Sidney Education Assoc. v. School Dist. 2 CIR 81, 88-1 (1974); Orleans Education Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 83-1 (1974); Malcolm Education Assoc. v. School Dist. 3 CIR 140-1 (1975). Also, the School District's refusal to negotiate with the Association exhausted the provisions of the Teacher's Professional Negotiation Act and the dispute, therefore, could be properly brought before this Court. Sidney Education Association v. School District , 189Neb. 540, 203 N.W.2d 762.

The Association seeks a base salary of $7,750.00 with a contribution of $36.00 toward family coverage Blue Cross-Blue Shield, where applicable. This compares to the 1974-75 level of compensation of $7,300.00 base salary plus single coverage Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

The parties disagree as to which other school districts should be compared to Yutan for purposes of a Section 48-818 determination. Table 1 illustrates the statistics of the School Districts offered by the Association as comparable to Yutan:

Table II illustrates the statistics of school districts offered by the School district of Yutan as comparable to it:

While the evidence in the two tables on enrollment and miles distant does not exactly correspond, the differences were not sufficiently significant to make further inquiry necessary.

Although both parties offered Valley as a comparable school, its enrollment is substantially above the next smaller school, Fort Calhoun, and its admission to the East Central Nebraska Conference was on a probationary basis. The other conference schools were afraid that Valley might be too large for their conference. Because of its size, the Court has decided to exclude Valley from its array. We will also eliminate Prague and Murdock because of their enrollment (too small) and the fact that they have withdrawn from the East Central Nebraska Conference.

The remaining schools appear to fit comfortably within the criteria used by this Court in previous cases. See , Valentine Education Association v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 66-1 (1973). Although Louisville and Elmwood do not belong to the East Central Nebraska Conference, they are within an acceptable range of size and geographic proximity, and Yutan regularly competes with these schools in basketball.

The Association argued that Malcolm should be excluded for lack of geographic proximity. While Malcolm is further from Yutan than the other schools, this Court has previously said that where the factor of comparability of size argues for inclusion of a district in the array but the factor of geographic proximity argues for exclusion, the factor of size should control as long as the distance does not vary greatly from those typically used by the court. Tecumseh Education Association v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 119-1 (1975). We conclude that the use of Melcolm produces a more balanced array, which is preferred.

In comparing the total teacher compensation in the selected school districts, we note the Association and the School District offered different compensation figures for some of the same school districts. We were able to reconcile these differences for the most part by recalculating the fringe benefit figures on the basis of the raw data submitted at the hearing. Table III illustrates the resulting array of comparable schools, and while there still remain small variances in the standard salary schedule figures, they are inconsequential.

Table III depicts what the Yutan teachers would be paid upon the salary schedules and fringe benefit schedules in effect at the school districts found to be comparable. The approximate midpoint of this array is at the level of Bennington, or $230,647. The average is $230,847.

There was no dispute regarding the salary schedule structure. The Association seeks only to increase the base salary and insurance contribution. The School District likewise does not seek to alter the structure of the schedule, but it asks the Court to consider as part of total teacher compensation the value of free lunches [1] provided to its teachers, inasmuch as the evidence shows that none of the other comparable school districts offer free lunches. This condition, however, is a unilateral condition of employment. It hasn't been negotiated. Therefore, rather than consider the value of the lunches in determining the total teacher compensation, we hold only that since free lunches are not prevalent among the comparable school districts, the Yutan School District may eliminate them.

The School District also maintains that since its sick leave policy is superior to that in comparable districts, its value should be considered in the wage and fringe benefit determination. Yutan provides five days of paid sick leave annually and the unused days can be accumulated. If the sick leave is not used, the teachers are paid $25.00 per day for the accumulated sick leave at the termination of their employment. Only one of the comparable school districts, Cedar Bluffs, pays its teachers for unused sick days, and it does not allow accumulation. However, unlike the other comparable school districts, Yutan provides no paid professional or personal leave. This reduces the value of Yutan's total leave provisions (sick, personal, and professional) are about the equivalent of the total leave provisions of the comparable school districts and these conditions, therefore, should not be considered in the wage and fringe benefit determination.

Since the evidence shows that a majority of the comparable school districts provide some contribution toward family insurance coverage, the Yutan teachers are entitled to similar benefits.

The Court finds that a base salary of $7,700, on the 4 x 4 salary schedule used in the school District of Yutan during the 1975-76 year, will produce a total basic salary of $223,608.00. In addition, the School District shall provide an insurance contribution of $19.10 per teacher per month for single teachers and 428.00 per teacher per month for teachers with dependents. This brings the total teacher compensation to $230,740.80.


(1) The scale of wages for teachers employed by the Defendant School District shall be computed on a salary schedule having a base salary of 7,700 with index increments of 4% vertically and 4% horizontally, and with vertical and horizontal columns as displayed upon plaintiff's Exhibit 5, a copy of which is attached hereto;

(2) That the full monthly health insurance premium of $19.10 for single teachers shall continue, and that $28.00 shall be paid per month toward family coverage for teachers with dependents;

(3) That the School District of Yutan may discontinue its payment of free lunches for teachers; and

(4) Except as specified in this order all other aspects of compensation and terms and conditions of employment shall remain unchanged by this Order.

Entered February 6, 1976.

[1]60 cents per day per teacher, or a total of $2,364.