|PRAGUE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION,|||||CASE NO. 480|
|An Unincorporated Association,||||
|V.|||||OPINION AND ORDER|
|SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 104, SAUNDERS||||
|COUNTY, NEBRASKA,a/k/a PRAGUE PUBLIC||||
|SCHOOLS, A Political Subdivision of||||
|the State of Nebraska,||||
For the Plaintiff: Theodore L. Kessner
Crosby, Guenzel, Davis, Kessner & Kuester
400 Lincoln Benefit Building
For the Defendant: Kelley Baker
Nelson & Harding
P.O. Box 82028
Before: Judges Kratz, Berkheimer, and Davis.
This matter came on to be heard upon the Plaintiff Association's Petition seeking a determination of wages and conditions of employment under Section 48-818 R.R.S. 1943 and on the Answer of the Defendant District which also seeks a determination pursuant to that Section.
The specific terms and conditions of employment which are in dispute are as follows:
1. Base salary
2. Paid health insurance
3. Paid long-term disability insurance
The Parties agreed that the public schools of Beemer, Bradshaw, Monroe, Rising City and Snyder should be included in the array of schools for comparison with Prague. Petitioner proposed also the public schools of Benedict, Cedar Bluffs, Gresham and Hordville. The public schools of Decatur, Douglas and Elk Creek, as well as the Nebraska School for the Deaf located in Omaha are proposed by Respondent.
The types of contacts with other schools normally used by the Commission in selecting schools for an array are not firmly present here because the Prague School is experiencing a declining enrollment and thus, is not able to maintain full membership in the athletic conference in which it has historically participated. Its contacts with other schools are in a period of change.
Respondent's superintendent testified that it did not propose Benedict because its athletic contacts have been brief historically, i.e. the last two years; however, in view of Prague's period of changing contacts, recent contacts appear of greater significance than historical contacts. Benedict's enrollment is comparable with Prague and is no further distant than Bradshaw which is proposed by both parties. In view of the foregoing factors, Benedict is included. The superintendent testified that the reason Gresham was not proposed by Respondent was that at the time Respondent prepared its compensation data, current data for Gresham was not available. While Gresham has a quite low enrollment, its distance is within the range of those schools agreed upon and it competes with Prague in both football and basketball. Based upon these factors and since inferentially Respondent would have proposed Gresham if data had been available, Gresham is included. While Cedar Bluffs is located closer to Prague than any other school proposed, its enrollment is twice the size of Prague. Because of Prague's enrollment trend, it is not appropriate to include so large a school, and Cedar Bluffs is excluded.
Respondent's superintendent testified that Hordville proposed by Petitioner was not included by Respondent because its only contact with Hordville is a single basketball game, and that for only the 1982-83 school year. Hordville's enrollment is low (82) compared with Prague and is 69 miles distance. These factors prompt the Commission to exclude Hordville. Douglas and Elk Creek proposed by Respondent are at least 70 and 98 miles distance from Prague, respectively, and have enrollments of 92 and 76. While apparently some athletic contacts are or may be developing with these schools, they are not sufficiently firm or significant to overcome the size and distance factors. They are excluded. There was little or no testimony introduced regarding Decatur proposed by Respondent. According to Respondent's exhibit, Decatur is located 81 miles from Prague and there are no athletic contacts. According to Respondent's superintendent, Prague is now looking to the south and west for contacts. Decatur is located northeast of Prague. For these reasons, Decatur is excluded.
The parties stipulated: "The work skill and working conditions of the teachers employed by [Respondent] and the teachers employed at the compared to school districts [proposed by each party] are similar, and satisfy the standards set forth in Section 48-818 to permit a comparison of terms and conditions of employment if included in the array of compared to school districts by the CIR.The CIR can, in selecting the school districts to which comparisons will be made for the purpose of determining prevalency in terms and conditions of employment, apply its previously announced criteria for limiting the number of comparisons to be made."
While Nebraska School for the Deaf properly should not be characterized as a "school district," the Commission interprets the stipulation to include Nebraska School for the Deaf within the term school district in the stipulation. Absent the stipulation, the Commission would seriously question whether teaching skills employed in the instruction of acoustically handicapped pupils eligible for instruction in that school pursuant to Section 79-1901 et seq., R.R.S. 1943 are closely similar to the skills of public school teachers generally. While Prague has as many or more athletic contacts with Nebraska School for the Deaf than with any other school in the array, the Commission on the question of community of interest finds from the evidence in this case that such contacts are insufficient to overcome the obvious variances between a special purpose school controlled and administered by the State of Nebraska under Section 79-1901 et seq. and general purpose schools controlled and administered by local autonomous school districts. Nebraska School for the Deaf is excluded from the array.
Information regarding the schools in the array are shown on Table 1.
The amount of employer contribution to health insurance and longterm disability insurance was unresolved by the parties. The Association argues that the prevalent practice is for the employer to pay the full amount of single and dependent health insurance coverage. The District in the prior contract year did provide for full coverage. The Association also argues that a long-term disability insurance program be adopted and that the employer contribute .007 of the total salary paid. The District has no long-term disability insurance program in effect now.
The information regarding these two insurance benefits in the compared to school districts is shown in Table 2 following:
Six of the seven schools pay the full premium for single health insurance coverage and three of the seven schools pay the full premium for dependent health insurance coverage. The Commission finds that the District shall contribute the full premium for single health insurance coverage and $111.30 towards the premium for dependent health insurance coverage.
Two of the seven schools in the array do not provide for long-term disability insurance coverage. The other five schools selected do contribute a percent of total salary or a flat monthly amount. The Commission finds the prevalent practice is for the District to contribute toward a long-term disability insurance coverage plan for its teachers. Therefore, the Commission finds that the District shall contribute .0070% of gross salary paid for long-term disability insurance coverage.
The other remaining issue for the Commission's determination is the base salary amount for Prague's teachers. The parties are in agreement as to the index salary schedule structure, however, the parties presented different staff index factors for Prague's teachers. The Commission finds the difference arises from the parties' calculation as to the part-time teacher at Prague. The Commission in the following salary comparison uses the Association's figures for the school districts selected.
Another difference between the parties is the amount of fringe benefits Prague's part-time teacher would receive at the school districts compared to. The District in making its fringe benefit calculations prorated the amount given to the part-time teacher where that was appropriate at the compared to schools and the Association did not. The Commission in the following Table 3 has compiled a comparison of the salary figures using the Association's computations and the fringe benefit figures taking into account a proration of fringe benefits for Prague's part-time teacher where that is appropriate at the compared to school districts.
Section 48-818 R.R.S. 1943 states that "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." This rule of overall compensation does not require an identity of benefits, but that the overall compensation be "comparable to the prevalent wage rates paid and conditions of employment maintained for the same or similar working conditions." These determinations must be made on the basis of the evidence introduced by the parties in the trial of the case. The determinations under Section 48-818, R.R.S. 1943, may, therefore, vary from case to case depending upon the evidence introduced by the parties.
Applying the statutory criteria of Section 48-818 to the evidence in the case, we find that effective at the beginning of the 1982-83 school contract year the base salary amount for Prague teachers shall be $11,875.00. This represents a standard salary schedule of $178,938.87 (base salary amount of $11,875.00 multiplied by a staff index factor of 15.068536), plus fringe benefits of $16,316.77 which makes the total teacher compensation for the purpose of these calculations: $195,255.64.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. That the base amount for Prague Public Schools teachers shall be $11,875.00, effective at the beginning of the 1982-83 school contract year.
2. That the District shall as soon as practicable provide each of its teachers long-term disability insurance coverage at a premium of .007 of gross salary, and the District shall pay to each teacher the pro rata amount for the period during the 1982-83 contract year preceding such coverage.
3. That the District shall contribute $50.73 per month towards single coverage and $111.30 per month towards dependent coverage health insurance from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, effective at the beginning of the 1982-83 school contract year.
4. This Order shall be effective for wages and conditions of employment with respect to the 1982-83 school contract year. The adjustments resulting from the Order shall be made ratably over the twelve 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 December 2, 1982