3 CIR 195 (1976)


Plaintiff, |
Political Subdivision also |
Defendant. |

Appearances: For Plaintiff: Theodore L. Kessner of Crosby,

Guenzel, Davis, Kessner & Kuester

For Defendant: James Beltzer of Luebs,

Tracy, Dowding, Beltzer and Leininger

Before: Judges Wall, DeBacker and McGinley


This industrial dispute comes before this court as an action requesting that the plaintiff be placed on the salary schedule of the defendant system, rather than receiving an "off-step" or "out-of-step" amount as remuneration. The facts are largely undisputed as hereinafter related. We find that we have jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter.

Plaintiff Bickford is now in his fourteenth year of employment with the defendant. His educational level is that of a Master of Arts plus 40 additional credit hours. For the 1974-75 year, plaintiff was an administrator, serving as Athletic Director, Guidance Counselor and Cafeteria Director. Toward the end of that contract, a dispute arose between the parties which was finally resolved by plaintiff giving up his Athletic Director position, and returning to a full-time teaching position as Guidance Counselor and Cafeteria Director. His 1975-76 salary was set at $14,062.00 plus one extra unit, which was the top salary on the MA + 18 salary schedule. In February, 1976, Bickford was asked to execute a "letter of intent" indicating whether he desired to remain with the system. As tendered, this letter showed plaintiff to be on Step 12, Base MA + 18 of the salary schedule (Ex. 7). In May, 1976, plaintiff was tendered a contract for the 1976-77 year showing a salary of $14,500.00 while the schedule under the collective bargaining agreement would have produced a salary of $14,952.00 (Ex. 6). Bickford initiated grievance procedures under the collective bargaining agreement before signing the new contract and pursued them until they were exhausted, without resolution of the dispute.

It is now settled that where the interpretation or effect of a collective bargaining agreement is involved, a single plaintiff may invoke the jurisdiction of this court and pursue his remedy herein. Kot v. School District of Omaha , 3 CIR 130-1 (1975), Minshull v. School District of Sutherland , 3 CIR 166-1 (1976) and TWU Local 223 v. Transit Authority , 3 CIR 159-1 (1976). Defendant challenges our jurisdiction to change a contract after execution. We have long held that because of the nature of the school teacher contracts in Nebraska under Section 79-1254, R.R.S. Nebr. 1943, and their essentially unilateral character, that the execution of a teacher contract does not preclude a review of its terms by this court. Hastings Educ. Assn. v. School District , 1 CIR 42-1 (1971); Milford Educ. Assn. v. School District , 1 CIR 43-1 (1971); Centennial Educ. Assn. v. School District , 1 CIR 44-1 (1971); Crete Educ. Assn. v. School District , 2 CIR 64-1 (1974), affd., 193 Neb. 245, 226 N.W. 2d 752; Sidney Educ. Assn. v. School District , 2 CIR 81/88-1 (1974), appeal dism., S.Ct. Docket 39571 and 39572 (1974); Orleans Educ. Assn. v. School District , 2 CIR 83-1 (1974), affd., 193 Neb. 675, 229 N.W. 2d 172; Malcolm Educ. Assn. v. School District , 3 CIR 140-1 (1975); South Sioux City Educ. Assn. v. School Dist. , 3 CIR 141-1 (1976); Yutan Educ. Assn. v. School District , 3 CIR 148-1 (1976). We here adhere to this line of decisions and find no merit to defendant's jurisdictional claim.

The facts lead to but one ultimate conclusion. The 1974-1975 dispute was settled by removing Bickford from the administrative roster and putting him back on the teacher roster at Step 12 of Base MA + 18. He was so considered at the time the "Notice of Intent" letters were set, and the Superintendent testified that he had so advised the Board of the defendant District. The attempt to place Bickford at an "off-step" salary by the Board is a violation of the collective bargaining agreement between the parties, and he should receive the salary stipulated in the schedule, $14,952.00, just as that salary is the amount received by the other Guidance Counselor in the District.

IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that the dispute herein is settled for the 1976-77 contract year by directing the Board to pay the plaintiff in accordance with the salary schedule negotiated between the Northwest Education Association and the defendant, that is, at Step 12, Base MA + 18, or $14,952.00 for 180 days. Plaintiff is allowed interest at 8% per annum on all sums due under this order until paid.

Entered September 27, 1976.