|BROKEN BOW|||||CASE NO. 454|
|Plaintiff,|||||OPINION AND ORDER|
|THE SCHOOL DISTRICT||||
|OF BROKEN BOW, IN THE||||
|COUNTY, OF CUSTER,||||
|IN THE STATE OF NEBRASKA,||||
For the Plaintiff: Theodore L. Kessner
of Crosby, Guenzel
Davis, Kessner & Kuester
For the Defendant; Edwin C. Perry
of Perry, Perry, Witthof,
Guthery, Haase & Gessford,
Before : Judges Davis, Kratz, and Gradwohl.
This matter came on for trial for a determination of wages and other conditions of employment for the Broken Bow Public School teachers for the 1981-1982 school contract year pursuant to Section 48-818. Broken Bow is a Class III school district employing 65 teachers and had a student enrollment of 980 for the 1980-1981 school year. The issues for resolution by the Commission are: base salary, salary schedule - index factors and structure, paid sick leave, and paid personal leave. The Commission has jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter.
The controlling statute if Section 48-818, which states:
The findings and order or order may establish or alter the scale of wages, hours of labor, or conditions of employment, or anyone 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 or 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.
2. Comparable School Districts.
The District presented the following schools which were also presented by the Association: Cozad, Gothenburg, Holdrege, Lexington, Minden, Ogallala, and Ord. The District, in addition, has presented for comparison by the Commission the following schools: Ainsworth, Centura, Loup City, Ravenna, St. Paul, and Wood river.
The parties stipulated that:
The work, skill, and working conditions of the teachers employed by the [Broken Bow] School District and the teachers employed at the compared to school districts on Association's Exhibit 4 and School District's Exhibits 4-6 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.
In selecting an array of school districts for the purpose of comparison in arriving at comparable and prevalent wage rates and conditions of employment the Commission has considered, among other factors, the following: student enrollment, geographic proximity, athletic conference membership, and community of interest demonstrated by athletic, scholastic and administrative contacts.
Table 1 sets out some of the information about the school districts in the proposed arrays.
From the evidence in this case, it is determined that a suitable array for the purposes of Section 48-818 should consist of the following school districts: Ainsworth, Cozad, Gothenburg, Holdrege, Lexington, Loup City, Minden, Ogallala, and Ord. The schools selected when compared to Broken Bow are similar in student enrollment, are all within 85 miles (except Ogallala which is 121 miles from Broken Bow, but a member of the same athletic conference), and have a strong community of interest demonstrated by their athletic, scholastic, and administrative contacts with Broken Bow.
We decline to include the non-conference schools of Centura, St. Paul, Ravenna, and Wood River for the reason that their extracurricular and in-service affiliations with Broken Bow are not as significant as the school districts selected for comparison.
3. Index Salary Schedule.
The Association argues for a change in the structure of the salary schedule used in the Broken Bow School District. The Association requests that the School District provide a salary schedule with index factors of 4.5 percent vertically and 4.5 percent horizontally, with columns for each nine hours of advanced educational attainment beyond the BA degree, and with 7 steps in the BA column, 7 steps in the BA + 9 column, 8 steps in the BA + 18 column, 10 steps in the BA + 27 column, 12 steps in the BA + 45/MA column, 12 steps in the MA + 9 column, and 13 steps in the MA + 18 column. The District argues for no change in the present salary schedule.
The following Table 2 shows the educational columns and number of longevity steps in each column of the school districts selected for comparison.
With respect to the additional step per column sought by the Association: in the BA column only two of the nine districts have 7 or more steps, in the BA + 9 column six of the nine districts have 7 or more steps, in the BA + 18 column six of the nine districts have 8 or more steps, in the BA + 27 column seven of the nine districts have 10 or more steps, in the BA + 45 or MA column there is only one district with such a column, in the MA + 9 column all five of the districts with such a column have 12 or more steps, in the MA + 18 column five of the eight districts have 13 or more steps, in the MA + 27 column there are only four districts with such a column.
With respect to the Association's argument for a 4.5 x 4.5 schedule, Table 2 shows vertical longevity increases of 4% in one of the nine schools and 4.5% or higher increments in the other eight schools. Horizontally, five of the nine schools had increments of 4% and four with 4.5% or higher. Three schools in the array have a 4.5 x 4.5 schedule.
The Commission will change an established salary schedule for teachers' salaries only where it varies materially from prevalent schedules and changes will be in the minimum extent necessary to achieve comparability. In West Holt Faculty Association v. School District 25 of Holt County , 5 CIR 301, at 308-309 (1981), the Commission stated:
Variations in the salary schedule affect the distribution of compensation among teachers within the group but do not affect total compensation. Some teachers may receive less and others more depending upon the schedule, e.g. higher increments result in the lower base salary. Because four of the seven schools have vertical increments of 4.25 or higher and four out of the seven schools have horizontal increments of 4%, it could be argued that a 4.25 or higher and four out of the seven schools have horizontal increments of 4%, it could be argued that a 4.25 x 4 schedule is roughly comparable to prevalent schedules. Such a schedule however produces a result sought by neither party with a redistribution of total compensation not envisioned by either.
It is the Commission's experience that because of varying effects of different schedules upon teachers within the bargaining group, changes in the structure of the schedule are best achieved through collective bargaining and that past practice should not be disturbed in the absence of substantial variances from prevalent practice which the Commission does not find in this case. Therefore, the Commission finds that no change in the salary schedule structure of West Holt is required.
For the same reasons as in West Holt , we decline to adjust the structure of the index salary schedule in this case. See also Millard Education Association v. School district of Millard , 5 CIR 425 (1982). Appropriate adjustments will be made in the base salary ordered, as discussed later in this Opinion and Order.
4. Paid Sick Leave and Paid Professional Leave.
Table 3 presents a comparison of some of the provisions of employer paid sick leave and professional leave in the school districts selected. The Association in its brief argues that there should be no change in these two benefits nor any adjustment be made in total teacher compensation. The District seeks to have these two fringe benefits adjudicated by the Commission. From the evidence presented, it appears that Broken Bow's teachers are comparable to the prevalent as to these two benefits, and may be slightly above the prevalent practice. However, no change will be made in these two benefits, but they will be considered as part of the overall compensation received by the employees.
5. Determination as to "Overall Compensation."
Section 48-818 provides 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 work of workers exhibiting like or similar skills under the same or similar working condition." 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.
The evidence establishes the following salary and fringe benefit comparison as compiled in Table 4.
All of the school districts selected for comparison purposes and Broken Bow have 185 contract days, except Ord which contracts with their teachers for 186 days. The District presented an adjusted standard salary schedule figure for Ord to accommodate the difference in contract days. In Millard Education Association v. School District of Millard , 5 CIR 425 (1981), the Commission stated:
Ralston has a lesser number of contract days than Millard and the other schools in the array. The Association contends that the Ralston salary schedule should be adjusted upward for comparison purposes. The Commission declined to adjust annual teacher compensation for contract days in Columbus Education Association v. School District , 3 CIR 385, 391-392 (1978), but did make such adjustments in West Holt Faculty Association v. School District 25 of Holt County , 5 CIR 301, 313-314 (1981). The two cases are distinguishable on their facts. As stated in West Holt :
In the Columbus case, the Commission said: 'The teachers enter into a contract for a school term, without particular regard to the number of days involved in that term.' 3 CIR 385 at 391.
The undisputed evidence in this case requires a departure from that finding. Here, the Association's expert witness testified that teaching employees should expect additional compensation if additional contract days are required and testified as to methods of adjustment generally based on a daily measurement . . . . The evidence shows that the number of contract days were unilaterally established by the Board to accommodate farm families, but as noted above the evidence also shows that teachers' salary expectations are related to the number of contract days. The Commission finds on the evidence in this case that an adjustment in basic salary should be made for a lesser number of contract days...
The Association did not present any evidence relating to the need for or propriety of adjusting teacher compensation because of difference in contract days. The Association having the burden of proof and the Commission in two prior cases having made different factual findings basic to resolution of the adjustment issue, the absence of evidence precludes its resolution in favor of the Association in this case.
The evidentiary basis for the West Holt adjustment it not present in evidence in this case and, therefore, no adjustments are made.
Applying the statutory criteria of Section 48-818 to the evidence in this case, we find that effective at the beginning of the 1981-1982 contract year the base salary amount for Broken Bow teachers shall be $11,830.00. This increase in base salary amount represents a standard salary of $1,083,943.86 (base salary amount of $11,830.00 times the staff index factor of 91.6267), fringe benefits of $65,806.11, making the overall compensation $1,149,749.97.
The following Table 5 is a comparison of standard salary schedule, fringe benefits and overall compensation figures for the school districts selected and with Broken Bow placed in the comparison as it now fits with the new base salary ordered. Table 6 is a comparison of the base salary figures and the staff index factor for each of the school districts selected and Broken Bow. Broken Bow's ordered base salary is the highest when compared to the other school districts in the array, but this is due to the low staff index factor of Broken Bow as shown in Table 6.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED THAT:
1. The base salary amount for Broken Bow teachers shall be $11,830.00 effective at the beginning of the 1981-1982 school contract year.
2. The index salary schedule structure for Broken Bow teachers shall remain the same.
3. The sick leave and professional leave provisions for BrokenBow teachers shall remain the same.
4. 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 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 May 4, 1982.