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Indiana Education Employment Relations Bd. v. Nettle Creek Classroom Teachers Ass'n.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

January 28, 2015

Indiana Education Employment Relations Board and Nettle Creek School Corporation, Appellants,
v.
Nettle Creek Classroom Teachers Association, Appellee

Page 48

Appeal from the Marion Superior Court. The Honorable Thomas J. Carroll, Judge. Cause No. 49D06-1204-PL-16036.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT INDIANA EDUCATION EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS BOARD: Gregory F. Zoeller, Attorney General of Indiana; David Steiner, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Eric M. Hylton, Laura S. Reed, Riley Bennett & Egloff, LLP, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Bradford, Judge. Najam, J., and Robb, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 49

Bradford, Judge.

[¶ 1] In 2011, Appellant Nettle Creek School Corporation (the " School Corporation" ) and Appellee Nettle Creek Classroom Teachers Association (the " Association" ) were engaged in collective bargaining for the 2011-2012 school year. The School Corporation and the Association (collectively, " the parties" ) were unable to agree to a Collective Bargaining Agreement (" CBA" ) and came to an impasse. Both sides submitted a last best offer (" LBO" ) to Appellant the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board (the " Board" ) after mediation failed.

[¶ 2] The Association initiated judicial review after the Board adopted the School Corporation's LBO. On November 27, 2013, the trial court found that the Board erroneously determined that the relevant proffered provisions of the parties' LBOs included an improper attempt to bargain hours rather than wages. The trial court also found that the Board erroneously concluded that the Association's LBO contained an improper attempt by the Association to bargain for an overtime compensation system that is inconsistent with both Federal and Indiana law.

[¶ 3] Upon review, we conclude that while teachers are not entitled to earn overtime for the completion of direct teaching functions, the relevant legal authority does not exclude the bargaining for and potential receipt of additional wages for the completion of required ancillary or voluntary co-curricular duties. Accordingly, we remand the matter to the Board for further proceedings that are consistent with this opinion.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶ 4] In 2011, the parties were engaged in collective bargaining for the 2011-2012 school year. The parties, however, were unable to agree to a CBA and came to an impasse. In light of the parties' failure to agree to a CBA, the parties participated in mediation. After mediation failed, both sides submitted a LBO to the Board. The disputed issues related to the Association's request for additional compensation for required hours worked outside the normal

Page 50

workday and certain grievance procedures.[1]

[¶ 5] On November 29, 2011, the Board appointed a factfinder to hear the parties' case. With respect to the parties' dispute relating to the Association's request for additional compensation for hours worked outside the normal seven-and-one-half-hour workday, the Association's proffered version of the provision at issue reads as follows:

A. (With the understanding that the established contractual teacher work day is seven hours and thirty minutes),[2] the [School Corporation] shall have the right to require a total of fifteen (15) hours after school activities per semester for each full-time teacher, without additional compensation.
B. The compensation for each hour in excess of the fifteen (15) hours shall be based on the following rate:
Thirty Four (34) dollars per hour.

Appellant's App. p. 80. The School Corporation's proffered version of the provision at issue reads as follows:

Teachers are professional employees and are paid on a salary basis rather than an hourly basis. The length of the normal work day for teachers will be 7.5 hours. This normal teacher work day may be extended as necessary to prepare and update lesson plans and other instructional materials; conduct parent/teacher conferences; evaluate and record student performance; meet with students to counsel them and address their academic needs; attend and present information at faculty committee meetings, case conferences; participate in instructional leadership activities, including the responsibility for conducting program and staff evaluation; and participate in co-curricular assignments and extra-curricular assignments listed in the ECA Schedule in this Collectively Bargained Agreement.

Appellant's App. p. 99. Following a hearing, the factfinder issued a recommended order in which it adopted the School Corporation's LBO as the parties' CBA for the 2011-2012 school year. On January 11, 2012, the Association appealed the factfinder's order to the Board.

[¶ 6] The Board held a hearing on January 24, 2012, after which it issued a final order. With respect to the parties' dispute relating to the Association's request for additional compensation for required hours worked outside the normal workday, the Board stated the following:

Under [Indiana Code chapter] 20-29-4 and [Indiana Code section] 20-29-6-18(b), the [Board's] decision in this matter is restricted to wages, salary, and wage-related fringe benefits. In light of strong statutory language and legislative intent toward restricting contracts to these limited subjects, we are bound to omit from the imposed contract any language referring to other subjects. Compensation for hours worked outside the contracted work day and work year is a problematic issue, because it suggests a determination of hours to be worked. Hours, previously a subject of bargaining, has been legislatively re-categorized as an item for the discussion process under [Indiana Code section] 20-29-6-7, and, as such, may not receive even a mention in the contract. In order to comply with these statutory mandates here, the contract imposed by the

Page 51

[Board] for the Nettle Creek teachers cannot include Article IV of the School Corporation's LBO or Article III, Section G of the Association's LBO, as both contain daily hours of work.
****
6. [Indiana Code chapter] 20-29-4, [Indiana Code section] 20-29-6-18(b), and [Indiana Code section] 20-29-6-4.5(a)(5) make abundantly clear that all contracts imposed by [the Board] in the factfinding process are restricted to wages, salary, and wage-related fringe benefits.
7. In order to reconcile the statutory mandates of [Indiana Code section] 20-29-6-15.1 and [Indiana Code section] 20-29-6-18(b) in this case, and to assure that the contract we impose contains only statutorily-permissible language, the [Board] will strike the impermissible portion and adopt the remainder of one party's LBO.
8. Were we to find that both LBOs contained only permissible language in regards to hours, we would, nonetheless, be bound to reject the Association's proposal on compensation. An " overtime" system that permits different rates of pay based on the number of hours worked is precluded by statutory individual contract requirements. Specifically, [Indiana Code section] 20-28-6-2(a)(3)(C) provides that a " contract entered into by a teacher and a school corporation must ... contain the ... total salary to be paid to the teacher during the school year..." [emphasis added]. The individual teacher's contract could not be executed under an " overtime" compensation system because such a system would make it impossible to calculate a total salary to be paid during the school year in advance because the salary would be adjusted throughout the year based on the number of hours the teacher works.

Appellant's App. pp. 206-07, 209-10 (emphasis and last set of brackets in original, footnotes omitted). Consistent with the above-stated language, the Board found as follows: " [t]he Association's appeal is denied and the School Corporation's [LBO] is adopted as the Nettle Creek contract, except insofar as any references to the hours of work ... in the School ...


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