3 CIR 248 (1977).


An Unincorporated Association, |
Plaintiff, |
A Political Subdivision of the |
State of Nebraska, a/k/a NEHAWKA |
Defendant. |

January 28, 1977

A hearing was held in the above-entitled action on November 24, 1976. The plaintiff seeks a determination under Section 48-818 of the base salary, health insurance contribution, and paid leave provisions for the Nehawka teachers during the 1976-1977 year.

The defendant is a Class II School District so the provisions of the Teacher's Professional Negotiations Act are inapplicable. The Court should find that an "industrial dispute" exists between the parties regarding the above specified items,1 and that it has proper jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter.

The parties are in disagreement as to which school districts should be compared to Nehawka for purposes of Section 48-818 determination. The plaintiff offered the school districts set for on Table I as comparable.

In addition to the conference schools appearing on Table 1, the defendant offered the remaining schools of the Homesteader Conference listed on Table II.

The Nehawka district has a student enrollment of 179, and belongs to the Homesteader Conference. Applying the criteria used by the Court in its previous decisions,2 the Court should find that the schools of the Homesteader Conference, plus the Elmwood and Weeping Water districts, are proper for purposes of comparison.

The School District of Louisville, with a student enrollment of 450, is too large for comparison under the Court's size criterion. See Tecumseh Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 119-1 (1975).

On Cross-examination, the plaintiff's expert witness testified that he had not included Douglas and Elk Creek in the Association's list of comparable schools because these districts were too small and were approved rather than accredited districts. In the Tecumseh Case , the Court stated its preference towards balanced arrays over those skewed in either direction regarding size. Of the ten schools offered by plaintiff, only one is smaller than Nehawka. Both Douglas and Elk Creek fit well within the size criterion which the Court enunciated in Tecumseh . The distinction between approved and accredited districts is minimized by the plaintiff's inclusion of Table Rock, an approved district, within its offered schools.

The plaintiff's expert also testified that he had not used Dawson-Verdon and Filley in his comparisons because these districts use six hour (BA, BA+6, BA+12, etc.) rather than nine hour (BA, BA+9, BA+18, etc.) salary schedules. While it is more difficult to place the Nehawka teachers on a six-hour schedule, it is not impossible if given adequate information. Unfortunately the raw data which the Defendant provided is not sufficient for this purpose. Defendant's Exhibit 7 lists the educational attainment of the Nehawka staff only in nine-hour increments.

It appears that the defendant's staff index factors and base salary data for these two school districts could be inaccurate. On cross examination, the defendant's superintendent, conceded that these calculations might not truly reflect the actual placement of the Nehawka teachers on the Dawson-Verdon and Filley schedules. Without the underlying data the Court cannot verify the accuracy of these computations.

While the districts of Dawson-Verdon and Filley do meet the Court's criteria, the reliability of the wage data offered for these districts has been effectively called into question. For this reason, the districts should not be used in the array of total teacher compensation, however, may be used for comparing paid leave provisions. The record is also unclear as to what, if any, insurance contribution is provided in the Elk Creek district, so that it also should not be used in the array.

Although the districts of Elmwood and Weeping Water are not members of the Homesteader Conference, they are within an acceptable range of size and extremely close (17 and 8 miles), respectively) to Nehawka geographically. For these reasons they should be utilized for comparison purposes.

It should be noted that in the Court's previous decision involving this district, Nehawka Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 65-1 (1973), the Homesteader Conference was used as a basis for determination. The Court has previously stated that "[it] is not absolutely bound by its own prior decisions," Murray Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 3 CIR 145-1 (1975). Upon fresh examination, the Court should find that the factors of size and close geographic proximity should govern in regard to the Elmwood and Weeping Water districts.

Table III depicts the resulting array:

The median of this array is $141,621.10 and the mean is $140,898.98. Based on these calculations, the Court should find that a base salary of $7,900 on the 4 x 4 index salary schedule currently in effect in the Nehawka district, with a full single health insurance contribution of $23.40 per teacher per month is the appropriate level of compensation under its previously enunciated standards. The resulting total teacher compensation is $140,566.00

In addition the Court should order that 7 days paid sick leave, accumulative to 30 days, and 2 days each of paid personal and professional leave be provided to the Nehawka teachers during the 1976-1977 school year.

IT IS THEREFORE RECOMMENDED, that the Court order:

1. That the scale of wages for the Nebraska teachers for the 1976-1977 year be computed in accordance with the 4 x 4 Salary Schedule currently in effect in the Nehawka district, with a base salary of $7,900.

2. That the defendant shall provide a full single insurance contribution of $23.40 per teacher per month.

3. That the paid leave provisions shall be 7 days sick leave, accumulative to 30 days, 2 days personal and 2 days professional leave.

4. That all other aspects of compensation and terms and conditions of employment remain unchanged; and

5. That these wages and terms of employment be effective from the first day of the 1976-1977 school year.

1Although the defendant did allege in its answer that the parties had reached agreement on all items except base salary, this issue was not developed at trial. The Court should therefore, determine the health insurance contribution and paid leave provisions for the 1976-1977 year.

2See, Valentine Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 66-1 (1973); Nebraska City Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 116-1 (1974); Tecumseh Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 119-1 (1975); So. Sioux City Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 3 CIR 141-1 (1976); and Yutan Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 3 CIR 148-1 (1976).