Comparability Studies Give Locals an Edge at Bargaining Table

Comparability studies are the tested measure by which K-12 local education associations can determine how their total compensation and district’s total costs compare with schools within a given geographic array of comparably-sized school districts.

For more than two decades, NSEA has trained local association negotiators in using the NSEA-licensed Navigator program to generate this assessment.  The results of the Excel-based program have been successfully used time and again to support and settle wage disputes filed with the Commission of Industrial Relations (CIR).  In fact, most trained local associations are able to use their comparability study data to settle with their school district.

Navigator assesses comparability by:

  • Using geographic and enrollment standards to generate a potential array of school districts within a given geographic area, as well as with enrollments no more than half as small or twice as large.
  • Gathering compensation information for those “peer” schools, as well as the subject school conducting the study.
  • Collecting data about each member of the bargaining unit’s degree level, educational hours, level of insurance eligibility, full-time/part-time status and years of teaching experience. Those details are used to place staff on peer school salary schedules and benefits.

By comparing the outcomes of those placements under peer school conditions of employment, the array is ordered to identify how far the subject school may be above or below the array midpoint, in salary, total compensation and total costs.

Over the past year, more than 50 local associations have worked closely with NSEA to learn the program at regional and small group trainings, as well as at NSEA University. Dozens more negotiators are licensed to use the program, having been trained previously, and generate their own analysis in preparation for negotiations.

Your NSEA organizational specialist will alert your team to next summer’s upcoming trainings, so rally your team to attend a 2020 Navigator event. Questions? Call NSEA at 1-800-742-0047.


NSEA’s Collective Bargaining Department, with assists from NSEA’s 18 organizational specialists, has helped 50 local education associations conduct comparability studies for 2020-21 bargaining talks that begin this month.  Those locals comprise nearly one in five of the 275 bargaining units represented by NSEA.  Here is a list of local associations that finished studies for 2020-21contracts:

  • Alliance
  • Auburn
  • Axtell
  • Banner County
  • Bayard
  • Bellevue
  • Blair
  • Centennial
  • Chase County 
  • Cozad
  • Crete
  • Elba
  • Elkhorn
  • Elkhorn Valley
  • ESU No. 7 
  • Fremont
  • Grand Island Northwest
  • Gretna
  • Harvard
  • Hemingford
  • Hershey 
  • Holdrege
  • Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer
  • Hyannis
  • Johnson-Brock
  • Kimball
  • Lexington
  • Madison
  • Malcolm
  • Minden
  • Mitchell
  • Morrill 
  • Nebraska City
  • Neligh-Oakdale 
  • Norfolk
  • North Platte
  • Ogallala
  • Omaha
  • Osmond
  • Palmer
  • Plattsmouth
  • Schuyler
  • South Sioux City
  • Southern
  • Sterling
  • St. Edward
  • Tekamah-Herman
  • Thayer Central
  • Twin River
  • Valley County
  • York