|FRANKLIN TEACHERS ASSOCIATION, An|||||CASE NO. 582|
|v.|||||FINDINGS AND ORDER|
|THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF FRANKLIN||||
|IN THE COUNTY OF FRANKLIN IN THE||||
|STATE OF NEBRASKA, A Political||||
For the Petitioner: Mark D. McGuire
Crosby, Guenzel, Davis, Kessner & Kuester
400 Lincoln Benefit Building
For the Respondent: Charles W. Hastings
P.O. Box 1044
Before: Judges Ashford, Kratz and Gradwohl
This matter came on for a §48-818 determination for the teachers represented by the Franklin Teachers Association (hereinafter referred to as the "Association"). The teachers represented by the Association are employed by the School District of Franklin (hereinafter referred to as the "District"). The District employs 28 teachers and has a student enrollment of approximately 355 students. The Association has petitioned the Commission to set wages and other terms and conditions of employment for the 1984-85 contract year.
The issues for resolution by the Commission include base salary, the structure of the index salary schedule and paid sick leave.
The Commission has jurisdiction of the parties and of the subject matter of this action.
The controlling statute is Section 48-818, which states:
The findings and order or orders may establish or alter the scale of wages, hour 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. 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 Association and the District both presented comparisons with the following six school districts: Clay Center, Doniphan, Harvard, Kenesaw, Red Cloud and Shelton. In addition to the six common school districts, the Association included in its array the school districts of Alma, Deshler, Gibbon, Nelson, and Sandy Creek. The District included Blue Hill in its array.
The parties stipulated that the work skills and working conditions of the teachers employed by the compared to school districts are similar and satisfy the standards set forth in 48-818 to permit a comparison of terms and conditions of employment.
The parties presented evidence as to student enrollment, county, number of miles from the District, and community of interest demonstrated by athletic and non-athletic contacts. Most of this evidence is set forth in Table 1.
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, 289 N.W.2d 535, 537 (1980); Omaha Assn. 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 and non-athletic 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, Blue Hill, Clay Center, Doniphan, Harvard, Kenesaw, Red Cloud, and Shelton.
The Commission has included in its array six of the districts agreed to by the parties, plus Alma and Blue Hill. All of the districts are within the one-half to twice as large guideline frequently used by the Commission.
Six districts have enrollments that are within approximately 50 students of Franklin's. Kenesaw and Clay Center are slightly smaller in enrollment but have contacts consistent with the other selected districts and are geographically close to Franklin.
Doniphan, Red Cloud, Harvard and Shelton are in the arrays proposed by both parties. Each has significant athletic and academic contacts. All four are in the same athletic conference as Franklin, as are Kenesaw and Clay Center.
Alma is in a different athletic conference. Otherwise, it is the most comparable to Franklin. It is the closest district to Franklin of any of the other districts. It also has twelve contacts with Franklin. Blue Hill is in the same conference. It is the second closest to Franklin and also has significant contacts.
We have determined that Gibbon, Sandy Creek, Deshler and Nelson should not be included in the array. Gibbon is twice as large as the next largest district. Gibbon is in a different athletic conference and has only slight contacts with Franklin. Sandy Creek is in a different athletic conference than Franklin and it has only minimal contacts with Franklin.
Nelson is the smallest district selected by either party. Six districts smaller than Franklin are larger than Nelson. It is also not in the same athletic conference. Deshler is the next smallest to Nelson. Deshler has no contacts with Franklin and is not in the same conference.
3. Index Salary Schedule
Table 2 shows a comparison of the index salary schedules at each of the compared to schools.
The District contends that the Commission should change the existing salary schedule in the following particulars:
1. The index be changed from a 4 x 5 to a 4 x 4;
2. The MA + 9 column be reduced from 16 steps to 13 steps;
3. The MA column be reduced from 14 steps to 12 steps; and
4. The BA + 27 column be reduced from 12 steps to 11.
In West Holt Faculty Association v. School Dist. No. 25 , 5 CIR 301 (1981), the Commission stated as follows:
"it is the Commission's experience that because of varying effects of different schedules on teachers within a bargaining group, changes in structure are best achieved through collective bargaining and that past practice should not be disturbed in the absence of substantial variances from prevalent practice...."
Id . at 309. See also, Diller Educ. Ass'n v. School Dist. No. 103, Jefferson County , 7 CIR 196 (1984); School Dist. No. 125, Frontier County v. Curtis Educ. Assn ., 7 CIR 96 (1983). Moreover, any change by the CIR should not result in a materially large disturbance of the internal balance of the salary schedule. See Sherman County Teachers Ass'n. v. School Dist. of Franklin , (Issued May 20, 1985); Ralston Educ. Ass'n. v. School Dist. of Ralston , 6 CIR 416, 421 (1983); Millard Educ. Ass'n. v. School Dist. of Millard , 5 CIR 425,434 (1982).
The evidence suggests that a 4 x 4 salary schedule is prevalent in the array selected by the Commission. However, the change in the salary schedule from a 4 x 5 schedule to a 4 x 4 schedule will alter the total staff index figure downward from 38.355 to 37.68 and will affect twenty-six of the District's twenty-eight teachers. We find that this constitutes a materially large disturbance in the internal balance of the pay schedule. Further, the fiscal year to which this determination applies is nearly over and there is an important industrial policy in maintaining existing wage relationships within the unit if it is otherwise appropriate to do so, leaving this matter for further collective bargaining negotiations between the parties. See Diller Education Ass'n. v. School Dist. No. 103, Jefferson County , 7 CIR 196 (1984); School Dist. No. 125, Frontier County v. Curtis Education Ass'n . 7 CIR 96 (1983); West Holt Faculty Ass'n. v. School District , 5 CIR 301 (1981) (decisions in which the Commission has declined on this basis to alter index salary schedules or supplemental salary schedules for teachers). Accordingly, we feel that such a change in the schedule is a subject better left to negotiations between the parties.
Likewise, if we were to reduce the steps in the BA + 18 column, BA + 27 column, and the MA column, seven out of the twenty-eight teachers would be impacted adversely by this change. For this reason, we choose not to make any alterations to these columns.
The MA + 9 column at Franklin has 16 vertical steps. Three of the compared to districts have such a column. The number of steps within the column varies. All three have fewer steps. We find that this evidence does not constitute sufficient evidence in the array selected that any particular number of steps is prevalent. Accordingly, based on the evidence presented by the parties, we find that the salary schedule should not be modified by the Commission.
The Association seeks an adjustment in the annual sick leave accumulation after the first year from five days to 10 days. The District seeks to modify the unlimited accumulation of sick leave by placing a limitation on the accumulation.
Table 3 shows a comparison of the sick leave provisions at each of the compared to schools.
In reviewing all of the exhibits and testimony in this case, we find that ten days of annual leave up to 45 days of accumulated sick leave are comparable to the prevalent among the school districts in the array.
5.Base Salary Determination.
The District has 185 contract days as do four of the compared to school districts included in our array. The school districts of Clay Center and Red Cloud have 182 contract days while the school districts of Blue Hill and Shelton have 184 contract days.
In making our base salary determination, we find that the standard salary schedule figures provided by the parties should be adjusted for differences in contract days between the District and the compared to school districts. See Nebraska Dept. of Educ.Teachers Ass'n v. Dept. of Educ. , 7 CIR 236 (1984), aff'd, 219 Neb. 555, 364 N.W.2d 44 (1985); School Dist. No. 124, Frontier County v. Curtis Educ. Ass'n , 7 CIR 96 (1983); Republican Valley Educ. Ass'n v. School Dist. No. 109R , 7 CIR 58 (1983); West Holt Faculty Ass'n v. School Dist. 25 of Holt County , 5 CIR 301 (1981). 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), aff'd , 205 Neb. 682, 289 N.W.2d 535 (1980).
The standard salary schedule figures, adjusted for differences in contract days, are shown in Table 4.
6.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 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 may, therefore, vary from case to case depending upon the evidence introduced by the parties.
Applying the statutory criteria in Section 48-818 to the evidence in this case, we find that the base salary for teachers in the Franklin School District should be $12,455.00, effective at the beginning of the 1984-85 school contract year. This represents a standard salary schedule amount of $477,711.53 (base salary amount of $12,455.00 multiplied by a staff index factor of 38.355), plus fringe benefits of $51,722.98, which makes the total teacher compensation for the purposes of these calculations: $529,434.51.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED:
1. That the base salary amount for teachers at the School District of Franklin shall be $12,455.00, effective for the 1984-85 school contract year.
2. That the current index salary schedule shall remain unchanged.
3. That there shall be 10 days of annual sick leave after the first year and that accumulated sick leave shall be limited to 45 days.
4. That the salary 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 promptly following the entry of these Findings and Order.
All judges assigned to the panel in this case join in the entry of these Findings and Order.
Entered June 26, 1985.