May 19, 2017

On May 17, 2017, the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board issued rulings in two pending negotiability disputes involving the Columbus Community School District and the Oskaloosa Community School District. The issues in those cases involved the negotiability of salary schedules and supplemental salary schedules under the new provisions of Iowa Code Chapter 20. PERB made the following rulings regarding the specific subjects of bargaining at issue:

  • Base Wages – PERB ruled that “base wages” under the new law means “the minimum (bottom) pay for a job classification, category or title, exclusive of additional pay such as bonuses, premium pay, merit pay, performance pay or longevity pay.”
  • Job Classifications – PERB ruled that a school district is under no obligation to bargain over whether a given job classification, category, or title will exist or not because job classifications are a permissive subject of bargaining. However, once a school district creates or maintains a classification in which bargaining unit members may be or are employed, the school district has a duty to bargain the base wage for that classification.
  • Salary Schedule Vertical Steps – PERB ruled that steps in a salary schedule are a permissive subject of bargaining.
  • Salary Schedule Educational/Horizontal Lanes – PERB ruled that educational lanes in a salary schedule are a permissive subject of bargaining.
  • Teacher Salary Supplement (TSS) – PERB ruled that TSS did not fall within the new statutory definition of supplemental pay. Instead, PERB ruled that TSS and the distribution of TSS were permissive subjects of bargaining.
  • Extra Duty Assignments – PERB ruled that extra duty assignments are a permissive subject of bargaining.
  • Pay for Extra Duty Assignments – PERB ruled that the amount of pay for extra duty assignments is a permissive subject of bargaining.

The effect of PERB’s rulings is that nearly all elements of a salary schedule are permissive subjects of bargaining. Only the minimum salary for each job classification established and maintained by a school district is a mandatory subject of bargaining as a base wage (i.e. step 1 of each lane in the salary schedule). For purposes of a supplemental salary schedule, PERB ruled that all of the coaching/sponsor positions on a supplemental salary schedule are job classifications and school districts have a duty to bargain only the minimum salary for each one of those positions the school district wishes to maintain.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these rulings or how they impact your school district, please contact Brett S. Nitzschke or any other attorney in Lynch Dallas, P.C.’s school law practice area.

Tags: School Law
Category: School Law