9 CIR 293 (1988)


Petitioner, |
Subdivision of the State of |
Nebraska, |
Respondent. |


For the Petitioner: Mark D. McGuire

Crosby, Guenzel, Davis,

Kessner & Kuester

400 Lincoln Benefit Building

Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

For the Respondent: James D. Livingston

Cunningham, Blackburn, Livingston,

Francis, Cote, Brock & Cunningham

222 North Cedar St., Box 2280

Grand Island, Nebraska 68802

Before: Judges Orr, Kratz, and Peetz



This matter came on for a determination of wages and other terms and conditions of employment for School District No. 9 (Chapman School District) teachers for the 1987-88 contract year, pursuant to Section 48-818. School District No. 9, hereinafter Chapman, is a Class I school district with enrollment for the 1987-88 year of 154. The district employs 11 teachers.

The Chapman School District as it currently exists is the result of the consolidation of two previously independent school districts. The consolidation was not complete until April 1, 1987 so the 1987-88 school year is the first contract year between this Association and this School District. Also due to the recent consolidation, the School District does not have an established base salary or an index salary schedule.

The issues as set out in the Report of Pretrial Conference include base salary, establishment of index salary schedule, grievance procedure, insurance benefits and extra-duty compensation. At the outset of the hearing both parties offered a stipulation, which was accepted by the Commission and which eliminated the issues of grievance procedure, health insurance and extra-duty compensation. The terms set out in the stipulation shall be incorporated into this Findings and Order. The only issues remaining for resolution by this Commission are base salary and index salary structure.


The Commission has jurisdiction of the parties and the subject matter of this action. The controlling statute is Section 48-818, which provides, in relevant part:

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.


The Association presented an array of eleven Class I school districts it proposes as comparable to the Chapman School District. The eleven proposed comparables are Atkinson Elementary, Bassett Elementary, Platte County No. 10, North Bend Elementary, Hall County No. 501, Wood River, Platte County No. 24, Hall County No. 3, Burwell Elementary, Buffalo County No. 14, and St. Libory.

The School District did not present any exhibits at the pretrial conference as previously requested but did introduce an exhibit prior to trial proposing that the School Districts of Palmer, Hall County 1-R (No. 501), Hall County No. 3, Hall County Cedar District No. 3, Platte County No. 9, St. Libory and Wolbach are comparable. The only information listed on Respondent's exhibit was 1985-86 wage figures for each district listed. At trial, the Respondent introduced exhibits showing the Chapman teachers placed on the salary schedules of the districts of Palmer, Wolbach, Hall County No. 3,and St. Libory. Subsequent to the Trial the Respondent introduced revised exhibits showing the Chapman teachers on the salary schedules of the districts of Hall County I-R (No. 501), Hall County No. 3, St. Libory and Palmer. Due to the incompleteness of Respondent's previous exhibits, we are only able to consider the Respondent's last four revised exhibits. The parties submitted three common school districts: Hall County I-R (No. 501), Hall County No. 3 and St. Libory.

The parties stipulated at pretrial that the work, skill and working conditions of the teachers employed by the Respondent school district and the staff of any proposed Class I School Districts 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 in this case. Table 1 sets out the information provided on the proposed school districts.

When choosing an array of comparable school districts 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. Schuyler Education Association v. School District No. 123, Colfax County , 8 CIR 331 (1986). We generally consider evidence of the relative size of the districts and proximity to the employer in question, as well as any other evidence presented that indicates similarity of work, skills and working conditions. See Schuyler Education Ass'n Supra . We generally limit the chosen array to those districts that are not more than twice as large nor less than half as small as the district in question and further attempt to present a similar number of larger and smaller districts in order to balance the array. Diller Education Association v. School District No. 103 , 7 CIR 196, 200 (1984).

In the present case all of the proposed school districts fit within our general size guidelines and neither party presented any evidence of geographical proximity. We have held that when dealing with Class I School Districts we will look at districts of comparable size and class from a larger portion of Nebraska due to the lack of sufficient comparable employments within close geographic proximity. See Schuyler Education Association v. School District No. 5 , 5 CIR 92 (1980). All of the districts proposed by the parties are Class I School Districts with the exception of Palmer.

Based on the evidence and the testimony presented we find that a suitable array for the purposes of Section 48-818 will consist of the following School Districts: Buffalo County No. 14, Burwell Elementary, Hall County No. 3, Hall County I-R (No. 501), North Bend Elementary, Platte County No. 24, St. Libory and Wood River. The chosen array includes the three common school districts proposed by the parties and presents a well balanced array of Class I districts.


The Chapman School District has not adopted an index salary schedule. Based on the evidence introduced and the testimony adduced at trial, it does not appear that the establishment of such a schedule for the 1987-88 contract year is in dispute. Clearly, since all of the array members chosen by the Commission have a salary schedule, use of such a schedule is the prevalent practice.

Table 2 sets out the relevant information about the schedules in use at all of the comparable school districts chosen by the Commission. The table indicates that a 4 x 4 index whereby there are 4% increasing increments for both longevity and educational attainment is prevalent. All of the array members recognize educational advancement to the BA + 27 level but the majority do not recognize advancement beyond the MA + 9 level. Thus, the last prevalent column is the column MA + 9.

We find that the prevalent schedule based on the array chosen by the Commission has 7 steps in both the BA and BA + 9 columns, 9 steps in the BA + 18 column, 10 steps in the BA + 27 column and 11 steps in both the BA + 36/MA column and the MA + 9column. The parties agreed to the credit that would be given by School Dist. No. 9 for educational attainment and prior experience. Placing the teachers on our schedule based on the parties' agreement, yields a total staff index factor of 13.3968.


The only issue remaining before the Commission is the establishment of a base salary. Table 3 sets out the overall compensation information for the array chosen by the Commission. Applying the statutory criteria of Section 48-818 to the evidence in this case we find that the base salary for teachers at the Chapman School District for the 1987-88 contract year should be $14,295.00.


1.That the base salary for the teachers of Chapman School District shall be $14,295 for the 1987-1988 school year.

2.That the compensation for the teachers at the Chapman School District for the 1987-1988 contract year shall be determined according to a salary schedule having index increments of four percent (4%) horizontally and four percent (4%) vertically and columns for educational attainment of BA, BA + 9, BA + 18, BA + 27, BA + 36/MA, and MA + 9, each column having 7, 7, 9, 10, 11 and 11 steps respectively.

3.That the grievance procedure outlined and incorporated into the Joint Stipulation entered as Exhibit AA at trial be established as a term and condition of employment for the 1987-1988 school year.

4.That, according to the Joint Stipulation entered as Exhibit AA, the teachers employed by the Respondent shall receive single health insurance benefits in the sum of $70.43 per month or an equal amount of cash in lieu of health insurance, upon election of the teacher.

5.That, according to the Joint Stipulation entered as Exhibit AA, a study committee be formed to further study and make recommendations to the parties concerning an extra-duty compensation schedule.

6.That the amount due each teacher for the school contract year already elapsed shall be paid as soon as possible following entry of this Order.

7.That all other terms and conditions of employment for the l987-88 contract year shall remain as previously established by agreement of the parties.

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

Entered March 25, 1988.