3 CIR 254 (1977).


ASSOCIATION, An Unincorporated |
Association, |
Plaintiff, |
Subdivision of the State of |
Nebraska, a/k/a Cody-Kilgore |
Unified Schools, |
Defendant. |

April 11, 1977

A hearing was held in the above-entitled action on November 22, 1976. The plaintiff seeks a determination under Section 48-818 of the base salary, and index salary schedule for the 1976-1977 school year. At trial the parties reached an agreement on the employer's health and disability insurance contribution, which the Court should utilize in determining total teacher compensation.

The defendant is a Class II School District so the provisions of the Teacher's Professional Negotiation Act are inapplicable. The Court should find that it has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter.

The Association offered data on the six school districts set forth in Table 1 for comparison purposes.

The Defendant offered the ten school districts which are listed in Table II with their relevant data.

District No. 30 has an enrollment of 185. Both parties have offered Class III and VI school districts as comparable because of the apparent lack of Class II districts in geographic proximity to the defendant. Moreover, geographic limitations which the Court generally utilizes[1] cannot be strictly adhered to in this case because of the great distance between the defendant and the district which both parties have utilized in their comparisons.

At trial, the district's superintendent, Mr. Edwards, testified that the school districts along Highway 20, Rushville, Gordon, Valentine, Ainsworth, and Basset, were defendant's primary competition for teachers. Ainsworth, Gordon, and Valentine are all over three times as large as District 30, however, and should be excluded on the basis of size. While these districts are all in relative geographic proximity to the defendant, the disparity in size is just too great for inclusion within the array of total teacher compensation. In addition, the merit pay system of Valentine makes comparison to it impossible, as there is no way to accurately apply it to the District 30 teaching staff.

Rushville and Basset are also over the Court's usual size limitation of "twice the size".[2] Because of the sparsity of schools in geographic proximity to District 30, and the fact that the defendant recognizes a competitive relationship with these districts the Court should find that they may properly be used in the array, as they do not deviate significantly from the Court's size guidelines.

The defendant has argued in its brief that while it offered Rushville into evidence, it should now be excluded because it lacks significant contacts. The two districts do compete in boys and girls basketball. This should be considered sufficient contact, in light of the established competitive relationship regarding the hiring of teachers. The Court should include in its analysis those districts which the defendant considers to be its prime competitors for teachers, in the absence of great size disparity, or other mitigating factors.

The Court should find that the district of Springview is in an acceptable range of size and geographic proximity, and has sufficient contacts for inclusion within the array. It competes with District 30 in basketball and volleyball, and participates in the same Educational Service Unit.

The defendant has argued that the plaintiff's schools Arthur and Stapleton should be excluded. While there are some conceptual problem in comparing Class II districts to Class VI districts like Arthur, the latter having only secondary enrollment, in this case both parties have offered evidence on Class VI districts as comparable to District 30. Assuming the two classes of districts are comparable, however, the question arises as to whether the same size criteria should be applied.

While it appears that Arthur falls below the Court's minimum size requirement of "half the size",[3] the secondary enrollments of the two districts are comparable. Arthur does compete with District 30 in football, basketball and volleyball, which argues for its inclusion.

The defendant has argued that since the actual value of the housing provided by Arthur to some of its employees has not been demonstrated, it should not be used for analysis. However, the testimony revealed that the Arthur teachers not taking advantage of the housing, were paid a $900 housing allowance. That fact distinguishes this case from the decision Banner County Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 72-1 (1973); where the Court held it could not place a value on the provided housing. In the instant case, the parties to the Arthur agreement have determined what the fair value of the housing is, and the Court can accurately rely on their determination. The Court should therefore find, that Arthur may be used as a basis for comparison.

While Stapleton is within an acceptable size range, the testimony revealed that it had no past contact with District 30. Although in previous years the two schools were members of the same athletic conference, there had been no interchange between them. The absence of any contact while the two districts are in the same athletic conference, rebuts the inference of a community of interest. While the geographic differences are not relatively as significant in this case as in most, it can be noted that Stapleton is the most distant of the offered districts. The above factors argue for the exclusion of Stapleton, and the Court should find accordingly.

The districts of Hyannis, Mullen, Sandhills, and Thedford which were offered by both parties should also be included in the array of total teacher compensation. They are members of the Sandhills Conference, which District 30 participates in, and fit within an acceptable range of size and geographic proximity.[4] The resulting array of total teacher compensation is depicted in Table III.

The median of this array is $208,279.50 and the mean is $208,000.52.

The structure of the salary schedule was the major point of disagreement between the parties, as developed at trial. In previous years a schedule with a 4 x 4 index and nine steps in each column had been used. The district had sought a graduated schedule, with an increasing number of steps in the various columns. The parties were unable to agree on what form the new schedule should take.

Evaluating the salary schedules in effect in the schools arrayed in Table III, the Court should find a 4 x 4 index salary schedule to be the prevalent. The proposed salary schedule in Plaintiff's Exhibit 4, (with some modifications) reflects the best approximation of the prevalent index salary schedule in effect in the compared to school districts. The sixth step in the BA column and the Ma + 18 column should not be included in the schedule, as they are not prevalent. As developed at trial, the placement of the District 30 staff on this schedule yields a staff index factor of 24.12.

During their negotiations both parties were looking towards a base of $8,200. At trial the defendant maintained that a base of $8,000 was appropriate under the evidence submitted. Having determined that a 4 x 4 index is prevalent, the Court should find a base salary of $8,150 to be appropriate, which when combined with the insurance contribution package that the parties agreed upon, yields a total teacher compensation of $208,671.84. This compensation package is at the approximate midpoint of the districts arranged in Table III.


1. That the scale of wages for the Cody-Kilgore teachers for the 1976-1977 school year be computed in accordance with a $8150 base on a 4 x 4 salary schedule with the following columns and steps; BA-5 steps, BA+9-7 steps, BA+18-8 steps, BA+27-9 steps, BA+36 or MA-10 steps and MA+9-11 steps.

2. That the defendant shall provide a full single insurance contribution of $23.40 per teacher per month, a full family contribution of $62.30 per teacher per month where applicable, and $5.00 per teacher per month towards the disability insurance premium.

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

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

NOTE: Footnotes were deleted. They were cites to prior cases.