|REPUBLICAN VALLEY EDUCATION|||||CASE NO. 502|
|ASSOCIATION, An Unincorporated||||
|V.|||||OPINION AND ORDER|
|SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 109R,||||
|RED WILLOW COUNTY, NEBRASKA,||||
|A Political Subdivision,||||
|A/K/A REPUBLICAN VALLEY SCHOOLS,||||
For Petitioner: Mr. Mark D. McGuire
Crosby, Guenzel, Davis,
Kessner & Kuester
400 Lincoln Benefit Building
For Respondent: Mr. James B. Gessford
Mr. Rex R. Schultze
Perry, Perry, Witthoff,
Guthery, Haase & Gessford, P.C.
1806 First National Bank Building
Before: Judges Gradwohl, Kratz and Berkheimer.
The Republican Valley Education Association (Association) requests the Commission of Industrial Relations to determine wages and conditions of employment for the School District No. 109R teachers for the 1982-83 school contract year. The Respondent, School District No. 109R (District), is a Class III school district employing 30 teachers and has a student enrollment of 391 students.
The parties stipulated at the pretrial conference held in this matter that "[e]xcept for base salary, the terms and conditions of employment for the teachers employed by the School District for the 1982-83 contract year shall be as previously established by the agreements made by the parties." The Commission has jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter.
The controlling statute is Section 48-818, which states:
"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 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 ...."
2. Comparable School Districts.
The Association and the District both presented comparisons with the following six school districts: Alma, Arapahoe, Benkelman, Bertrand, Cambridge, and Oxford. The Association also presented comparisons with the school districts of Culbertson, Imperial (Chase Co. High School), Maywood, Sutherland, and Trenton. The parties stipulated that the work skills and working conditions of the teachers employed by Republican Valley and the teachers employed in all eleven of the compared to districts are similar and satisfy the standards set forth in Section 48-818 to permit a comparison of terms and conditions if included in the array of compared to school districts by the Commission.
The evidence in this case as to the compared to school districts, in addition to the stipulation as to work skills and working conditions, consists of student enrollment (rank and number), county, number of miles from Republican Valley, athletic conference, and community of interest of the districts with Republican Valley, especially concerning athletic and non-athletic contacts. Table 1 sets out most of the above information about the school districts in the proposed arrays.
In selecting employments for the purpose of comparison in arriving at comparable and prevalent wage rates and conditions of employment, the question is whether, as a matter of fact, the employments selected for comparison are sufficiently similar and have enough like characteristics or qualities to make comparison appropriate in that situation. Fraternal Order of Police v. County of Adams, 205 Neb. 682, 685, 289 N.W.2d 535, 537 (1980); OmahaAssn. of Firefighters v. City of Omaha, 194 Neb. 436, 441, 231 N.W.2d 710, 713 (1975); Crete Education Assn. v. School Dist. of Crete, 193 Neb. 245, 255, 226 N.W.2d 752, 758 (1975).
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. In considering the evidence as to these factors, the Commission determines that a suitable array for the purposes of Section 48-818 should consist of the following school districts: Alma, Arapahoe, Benkelman, Bertrand, Cambridge, Culbertson, Maywood, Oxford, and Trenton.
We have included the six school districts proposed by both parties, Alma, Arapahoe, Benkelman, Bertrand, Cambridge and Oxford. Culbertson, Maywood, and Trenton have many similar characteristics and add a desirable geographic representation element to the array, making it more suitable for comparison purposes in this particular instance. The six districts proposed by both parties lie generally east of Republican Valley. Culbertson is 22 miles west of Republican Valley and Trenton 32 miles west of Republican Valley. Culbertson and Trenton are just west of McCook; Republican Valley is just east of McCook. Maywood is 43 miles from Republican Valley, mostly north. It is near Medicine Valley, a Republican Valley Athletic Conference school which might, ordinarily, be included in an array for the comparison purposes of this matter, but which is, itself, involved in a similar wage determination in the Commission for the current year's wages and benefits. Maywood, therefore, is a suitable member of the array for the determination of this matter.
Imperial (Chase County High School) and Sutherland have not been included in the array used for the determination of this matter. The nine schools selected above form a suitable array to which, on the facts in this record, the addition of Imperial and Sutherland would appear to detract rather than to add suitability. Imperial (Chase County High School) is a Class VI school and, while there is no rule which necessarily precludes the use of a Class VI school for these comparison purposes with Class III schools, we decline to do so in this instance because of the availability of an otherwise suitable array. Sutherland appears to be geographically remote from Republican Valley and generally lacking in any significant community of interest with Republican Valley.
3. Base Salary
As stipulated by the parties, the only issue not agreed to by the parties is the base salary. The Association argues in its trial brief that the Commission in making the base salary determination should take into consideration the dissimilarity of contract days of the compared to school districts. The Association in its Exhibit3 has increased the standard salary figures for Bertrand, Cambridge and Imperial (Chase Co. High School) to reflect the longer contract year of 185 days at Republican Valley. The following Table 2 shows the number of contract days of the schools in the array and at Republican Valley.
The District introduced evidence that the 1982-1983 school schedule calls for only 184 duty days for the teachers rather than 185 days. These are 180 classroom days and four additional Service days. The District also contends that its snow days policy is more favorable than those of other comparable school districts, although at the time of the hearing in this matter, there had been no snow days during 1982-1983.
Section 48-818 states, among other things, 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 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." The evidence in the present case shows that the teachers are obligated by contract to serve 185 days during the 1982-1983 school year. It is true that there may be variances, presumably downward, in the actual number of days served by teachers at Republican Valley and the other comparable schools. The Commission, however, is called upon in this proceeding to place a value on the 185 contract days to which the parties have agreed, and have become legally obligated. Were the School District to choose to limit the teachers' obligations to the statutory minimum 175 school days and nothing more, it would, nevertheless, according to the evidence in this record, be legally obligated to pay for the 185 contract days for which the parties have contracted. The Superintendent testified that teachers missing a day's teaching have their salary reduced by 1/185th of their total salary.
We find that in this case an adjustment in the standard salary figures be made to take into account the differences in contract days at Bertrand and Cambridge (both School Districts proposed by both parties). See West Holt Faculty Association v. School District 25 of Holt County, 5 CIR 301, 313-314 (1981); Bellwood Faculty Association v. School District Number 3R, 6 CIR 396 (1983); Dorchester Education Association v. School District, 6 CIR 408 (1983). Similarly, the Commission has made adjustments based on differences in work week hours in Fraternal Order of Police Local No. 12 v. County of Adams, 3 CIR 585, 590 (1978), affd, 205 Neb. 682, 289 N.W.2d 535 (1980).
The overall compensation figures and adjustments to a 185 contract day period are shown on Table 3.
The rule of overall compensation contained in Section 48-818 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 Republican Valley teachers shall be $12,160.00. This represents a standard salary schedule of $466,457.60 (base salary amount of $12,160.00 multiplied by a staff index factor of 38.36), plus fringe benefits of $35,727.01, which makes the total teacher compensation for the purpose of these calculations: $502,184.61.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
1. That the base salary amount for School District No. 109R teachers shall be $12,160.00, effective at the beginning of the 1982-83 school contract year.
2. This Order shall be effective for wages and conditions of employment with respect to the 1982-1983 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 17, 1983