3 CIR 281 (1977). Affirmed. 201 Neb. 303, 267 N.W.2d 530 (1978).


An Unincorporated Association, |
Plaintiff, |
NEBRASKA, A Political Subdivision |
of the State of Nebraska, |
Defendant. |

June 30, 1977

Appearances- For Plaintiff: Theodore L. Kessner

For Defendant: Richard H. Hoch

BEFORE: Wall, P.J., Kratz and McGinley, J.J.


A Hearing was held in the above-entitled action on November 29, 1976. The plaintiff seeks a section 48-818 determination of the base salary and extra duty pay schedule for the 1976-1977 school year. The defendant argued at trial that health insurance contribution, personal and professional leave, and contract calendar are also at issue, although the parties had reached tentative agreement on these items.

The defendant is a Class III school district. The parties have gone to fact-finding under the Teacher's Professional Negotiations Act, Section 79-1293 R.R.S. 1943. The school district rejected the report of the Fact-Finding Board. Thus, the parties have exhausted the provisions of the TPNA, and have brought their dispute before this Court for resolution. The Court finds that "an industrial dispute" exists between the parties and that it has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter.

The parties are in some disagreement as to which school districts the Court should use for the Section 48-818 determination. At trial, the plaintiff offered the school districts set forth on Table 1 for comparison purposes.

The defendant offered the districts listed on Table II.

The defendant district has an enrollment of 1,580. It participates in the Twin Rivers Athletic Conference with Auburn, Blair, Fairbury, Fall City, Plattsmouth, and Syracuse.

The Court finds that the districts of Auburn, Blair, Crete, Fairbury, Falls City, Norris, Plattsmouth, Springfield and Syracuse fit within the criteria which the Court has previously enunciated in its teachers' wage determination cases.[1]

The geographic distances which the parties have offered for the above districts do not vary to a significant degree, with the exception of Fairbury. While Fairbury is beyond the Court's usual geographic limit,[2] it is a member of the same conference as Nebraska City, and was offered into evidence by both parties. For the foregoing reasons it will be included in the array of total teacher compensation.

Similarly, Blair and Crete are not within a 50 mile radius, but do pass muster by other criteria. Blair, a conference school, was offered by both parties. Crete, a non-conference school, was offered by defendant and plaintiff's expert witness acceded at trial that he could have properly utilized Crete in his comparisons, but did not. If not objectionable for other reasons, Blair and Crete should be included in the array.

Syracuse is slightly below the Court's usual size limitation,[3] however the Nebraska City superintendent testified that he believed Syracuse to be the district with the greatest community of interest with Nebraska City. Moreover, Syracuse is a conference school offered by both parties, which supports its propriety as an array member.

While the testimony revealed that the district of Springfield does not have any specific contacts with the defendant district, it is included in the array as it falls within the Court's guidelines for size and geographic proximity.[4]

Likewise the district of Norris has amenable limits of size and geographic proximity. It also competes with the defendant school in basketball and football and has been invited to join the Twin Rivers athletic conference of the defendant. For these reasons, Springfield and Norris will also be included in the array for the determination of total teacher compensation.

Auburn, Falls City, and Plattsmouth each satisfy the size and geographic guidelines and can be properly included in the array.

The standard salary figures submitted by the parties for the district of Blair, differ by an amount over $23,000. This discrepancy, as it was developed at trial, was due to the parties differing placement of the Nebraska City staff on the Blair schedule. The Blair district, has "redlined" certain areas of its salary schedule, resulting in the removal of some steps on the columns. However, Blair staff members who have previously advanced beyond the "redline" were given "grandfather" rights to remain on the previous schedule, but with no future advancements beyond the redlines.

The Court believes the evidence, as a whole, supports the plaintiff's placements and will accordingly utilize their figures. The defendant has argued that the Court should not consider the Plattsmouth compensation figures in its comparison. Plattsmouth unlike the other offered districts, has a 12 hours salary schedule which makes placement of the Nebraska City staff upon it considerably more difficult, but not impossible. The plaintiff did provide the defendant with its placements after the hearing. While the defendant argues in its Supplemental Brief that there may be some question as to the accuracy of these placements, it did not point out any discrepancy. The district has simply propounded a theory that the plaintiff's exhibits may possibly be in error. The Court finds that the defendant has not carried the burden of proof on the issue[5], so the Plattsmouth compensation figures will be utilized.

The defendant did not offer any health insurance figures for the Crete school district. Since the plaintiff did not offer this district the Court would have to speculate on the amount to arrive at a total teacher compensation figure. Plaintiff argues that this would be inappropriate. We agree. The fringe benefit figure offered for the other schools which we have found to be appropriate for comparison vary by over $9,000. This difference is far too great for the Court to estimate sufficiently reliable total teacher compensation figures.

The resulting array is depicted in Table III.

The median of this array is $1,085,179.20 and the mean is $1,083,209.65. Based on these calculations, the Court finds that the total teacher compensation requested by plaintiff is sufficiently close to our calculation, therefore their request will be granted. This result is a base salary of $8,325 on the 4 x 5 index, currently in effect at the Nebraska City district, yielding a standard salary schedule figure of $1,016,649.00. The requested fringe benefits, including Single and Family Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Income Protection and Term Life Insurance, total $66,375.36. The resulting total teacher compensation is $1,083,024.36.

In its Supplemental Brief the Association argues that there is no longer a dispute over the tentatively agreed upon items of extra duty pay, paid leave and contract days. The Court accepts this argument as to contract days and personal leave, as the District failed to present evidence on these issues at trial, and requested in its Supplemental Brief a finding that 186 contract days and 2 days personal leave are appropriate. Regarding extra duty pay, however, the situation is somewhat distinct. The defendant did offer evidence on extra duty pay at trial. While the District has maintained that the Court utilize the agreed upon extra duty pay schedule, it argues that its value be added in total teacher compensation, thus affecting the amount available for base salary and fringes. This position keeps the extra duty pay in issue, however, the Court finds that neither party has presented sufficient evidence for a finding on extra duty pay.[6]

There are some significant conceptual problems with comparing extra duty pay schedules for the various school districts. Not all districts compensate for the same duties. Some districts pay a percentage of the base salary, some pay a percentage of the teachers' salary, some pay a certain sum per unit, some pay a flat dollar amount. Other variables are the years of service and the number of teachers under a department head.

The plaintiff's evidence consisted of a comparison of the extra compensation for eleven specific duties[7] in its ten offered districts. This evidence is inadequate as it presents only part of the picture. It would be necessary for the Court to have a total extra duty compensation figure for each district in order to make a valid comparison.

The defendant has offered a total extra duty compensation figure for each of its offered districts, however, it has offered the compensation paid to the staff at the other school district,not the Nebraska City staff. These figures are unreliable as they do not take into consideration the differences in the staffs at the various districts.

It would be necessary to place the Nebraska City staff upon the various extra duty pay schedules, as nearly as possible, and offer a total extra duty pay figure for comparison. Any conceptual problems could be illustrated to the Court and perhaps used to adjust the figures in some manner. It is necessary to utilize the same staff on the various schedules or we would be comparing apples with oranges.

For the above reasons, the Court is unable to determine that the present extra duty pay schedule differs from the prevailing, and therefore continues the present schedule in effect. The Court finds that the continuation of this schedule, together with the changes in other items of compensation as determined herein, will bring the total teacher compensation to a level comparable with the prevalent as required by ยง48-818, R.R.S. Nebr. 1943.

As has been previously stated by this Court, Fremont Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 1 CIR 50-1, 14 (1972), a school district's "ability to pay" is of vital concern, but this Court is not the proper forum under present law to consider that factor. Thus we feel compelled to reject defendant's contention that such be considered. Rather we follow the holding in Nehawka Educ. Assoc. v. School Dist. , 2 CIR 65-1 (1973), that, "[C]onsiderations as to the results that this Court's decision may have on the tax valuation and the mill levy are beyond the statutory authority of this Court".


1. That the scale of wages for the Nebraska City teachers for the 1976-1977 year be computed in accordance with the 4 x 5 salary schedule currently in effect in the Nebraska City district with a base salary of $8,325.

2. That the defendant shall provide the single Blue Cross/Blue Shield contribution of $23.40 per month and full family contribution of $62.30 per month where applicable, $7.90 per month term life insurance, and Income Protection insurance (.0028 of Gross Salary).

3. That the number of contract days for the 1976-1977 school year shall be 186.

4. That two days of personal leave shall be provided for each staff member during the 1976-1977 school year; and

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

NOTE: Footnotes deleted. Mostly cites to other cases.