5 CIR 347 (1982)


Plaintiff, |
Defendant. |


For the Plaintiff:Theodore L. Kessner

Crosby, Guenzel, Davis,

Kessner & Kuester

400 Lincoln Benefit Bldg.

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

For the Defendant: John F. Recknor

Barlow, Johnson, DeMars & Flodman

1227 J Street

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

Before: Judges Berkheimer, Orr and Davis.


This matter came before the Commission for a determination of wages and other conditions of employment pursuant to Section 48-818 R.R.S. 1943. The issues for resolution are:

Salary Schedule Structure

Salary Schedule Index

Paid Health Insurance

Base Salary.

Section 48-818 of the Statute provides:

The findings and order or orders may establish or alter the scale of wages, hours of labor, or conditions of employment, or any one or more of the same. In making such findings and order or orders, the Commission of Industrial Relations shall establish rates of pay and conditions of employment which are comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid and conditions of employment maintained for the same of similar work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working conditions. In establishing wage rates the commission shall take into consideration the overall compensation presently received by the employees, having regard not only to wages for time actually worked but also to wages for time not worked, including vacations, holidays, and other excused time,

and all benefits received, including insurance and pensions, and the continuity and stability of employment enjoyed by the employees. Any order or orders entered may be modified on the commission's own motion or on application by any of the parties affected, but only upon a showing of a change in the conditions from those prevailing at the time the original order was entered.


The parties agreed that the work, skill and working conditions of the teachers employed by the School District and the teachers employed at the school districts proposed as comparable by both parties are similar. The Defendant is a Class I school district.

The Plaintiff presented evidence regarding wages and terms and conditions of employment in 9 Class I Districts, all of which use salary index schedules based on longevity and educational attainment. The Plaintiff's expert placed the District 15 teachers on the salary schedules of these schools in the manner usually applied by the Commission in comparing salaries and conditions of employment. The full time equivalent number of teachers at these schools range from 6 to 10.7.

The Defendant presented a survey of eight Class I schools each having 5 full time equivalent teachers showing compensation of each teacher at each school and the years of service of each teacher. The witness who conducted the survey of these schools did not inquire whether any of these schools used a salary schedule.

In Fremont Education Association v. School District of Fremont , 3 CIR 492, 500 (1978) the Commission said:

The basic salary for virtually all Nebraska public school teachers is determined on a standard salary schedule which allows for both experience and educational attainment. Milford Education Association v. School District , 1 CIR 43-1 (1971). The Court has used the total standard salary schedule compensation level with the total fringe benefit cost to arrive at 'total teacher compensation.' The total teacher compensation concept has provided the Court and the parties with a relatively simple and efficient manner to compare the compensation levels of teachers and to arrive at the prevalent wage rate given the assumption of fungibility of certificated teachers.

As stated above the only information presented by the District regarding School Districts proposed for comparison are salaries,and experience of individual teachers at the schools proposed by the District are not shown.

It is apparent from the information presented that within particular districts some teachers with less experience receive greater salaries than teachers with more experience. Therefore, experience is not the only factor considered in determining salaries at those schools. It is not shown what other criteria are applied in those districts to determine individual teachers salaries. The evidence does not show what salaries the District 15 teachers would receive if they were employed by those districts. The information is not sufficient to place District 15 teachers in those districts for comparison purposes. Total compensation cannot therefore be computed for comparison of these Districts with District 15. The Association presented evidence concerning wages and conditions of employment in the following public schools: Adams County District 60, Hall County District 1R, Harrison Elementary, Hooper Elementary, Hyannis Elementary, Inman, Lisco, Riverton and St. Libory. These schools are widely dispersed geographically. In Hall Teachers Association v. School District No. 5 , 4 CIR 114-121 (1979) the Commission recognized the difficulty in assembling an array of otherwise comparable Class I Districts with geographical proximity and utilized Districts of comparable size and Class from a larger portion of Nebraska than is usually the case with other

Classes. Since all schools proposed by the Association are Class I schools, size of enrollment is the primary factor in choosing an array. Enrollments at Hall County District 1R, Hooper Elementary and St. Libory are more than twice as great as District 15 and are therefore excluded because of size. The Commission finds that a suitable array for purposes of Section 48-818 consists of Adams County District 60, Harrison Elementary, Hyannis Elementary, Inman, Lisco and Riverton. Table I following sets out information regarding District 15 and schools in this array.


The Defendant contends that the evidence fails to show that a salary schedule is a prevalent condition of employment in Class I School Districts.

It may be that a salary schedule is viewed by a school district and its teachers as a "condition of employment" in that it probably creates expectations by teachers of future rewards for continued service and additional education and expectations by the district of personnel stability and greater future teaching competence. However, the commission fixes salaries and conditions of employment for a single school year and the order does not persist beyond that year. It therefore cannot establish a salary schedule as a condition of employment which speaks to the future. As stated in Fremont supra salary schedules function so far as the Commission is concerned is to provide a manner of comparison both of total compensation paid by districts and of salaries paid individual teachers.

As previously noted the information offered by the Defendant does not show the criteria which were applied in determining individual teachers salaries in the schools it proposed and it is therefore not possible to use such schools as standards of comparison. The schools in the array do show educational attainments and experience as criteria in determining salaries and do so in the form of salary schedules. In applying a salary schedule in this case the Commission does no more than determine by reference to schedules what salaries the District 15 teachers should receive in order that their salaries be comparable to those prevalent in the array.

All of the School Districts in the array recognize educational attainments of BA, BA + 9 and greater than BA + 9. One teacher employed by District 15 qualifies for BA + 9 , and the remainder are BA only. Thus, it is necessary to stablish longevity steps for only BA and BA + 9 educational lanes.

Table II following shows the salary schedules of schools in the array with the number of increments for education and for longevity for each of the two educational lanes BA and BA + 9 together with the index factors for longevity and a percentage increase over base salary for educational attainment.

Three of the six schools use a 4 x 4 index meaning 4% increments for both longevity and educational attainment without compounding. A 4 x 4 schedule is found to be prevalent. The median number of annual steps in the BA lane is between 6 and 7 and the average is 6.33. 6 steps in the BA lane are found to be prevalent. The median number of steps in the BA + 9 lane is 7 and the average is 7.33. 7 steps in the BA + 9 lane are found to be prevalent. Some schools grant some credit for years of service outside of the District; however sufficient information as to a majority of the Districts in the array is not available to find such credit to be prevalent. Accordingly, for the 1981-1982 school year the Commission will apply a 4 x 4 schedule index with 6 steps in the BA lane and 7 steps in the BA + 9 lane with no credit for experience outside the District. For the teachers employed by the District a 4 x 4 schedule with 6 steps in the BA lane and 7 steps in the BA + 9 lane results in a staff index factor of 6.08.


District 15 provides no paid health insurance. Table III following shows medical insurance provided by schools in the array.

The Commission finds that premiums paid for single coverage health insurance by the District should be $41.40 with no payment made toward dependent coverage.


The overall compensation of schools in the array is shown in Table IV following:

Applying the statutory criteria of Section 48-818 to the evidence in this case the Commission finds that effective at the beginning of the 1981-1982 school year the base salary for District 15 teachers should be $11,270. This is a standard salary schedule of $68,521.60. (base salary amount of $11,270 x staff index factor of 6.08) and fringe benefit package of $2,484 making an overall compensation of $71,005.60.


1. For the 1981-1982 school contract year, the teachers employed by School District No. 15 of Adams County, Nebraska, shall be paid according to a salary schedule with 4% increment for BA+9 educational attainment, with 6 longevity steps in the BA lane and 7 longevity steps in the BA + 9 lane.

2. The base salary for District 15 of Adams County, Nebraska School District teachers shall be $11,270 effective at the beginning of the 1981-1982 school contract year.

3. The District shall pay amounts for health insurance premiums of $41.40 per month towards single coverage.

This Order shall be effective for wages and conditions of employment with respect to the 1981-1982 school contract year. The adjustments resulting from this Order shall be made ratably over the 12 months of the school contract year. The amount due for the portion of the school contract year already elapsed shall be paid as soon as feasible following the entry of this Order.

All judges assigned to the panel in this case join in the entry of this Opinion and Order.

Filed January 4, 1982.