"Asbury Park School Superintendent Disputes Media Account of Teacher Absences"
In response to an inaccurate media report of teacher absences in the district, the Asbury Park Superintendent, Dr. Denise Lowe has issued the following statement:
“We received a Freedom of Information Act request, asking us to report the number of teacher absences in the Asbury Park school district. The requesting entity, Choice Media, issued a news release on May 16th stating…“the number of teacher sick days was considerably higher in Asbury Park than at five other mid-size New Jersey School Districts.” The data they used compared Asbury Park to Carteret, Haddonfield, Hazlet, Montclair and Union Township.
The conclusion about the number of sick days in Asbury Park made by Choice Media was not correct. The data released by the Asbury Park District did not allow for a proper comparison to the data released by other school districts.
Unlike the reporting done by other districts, the data provided by Asbury Park included every time a substitute teacher was needed in a teaching position, not just to cover a sick day, as reported by other districts. Our data also included coverage needed for professional development days, leave of absence days and personal days.
In reality, the average number of sick days used per teacher in Asbury Park during the 2010-2011 school year where 2,627 resulting in an average of 10.9. During the 2011-2012 school year, the number dropped to 2,541 for an average of 10.5 sick days per teacher.
Although higher than the average calculated by Choice Media of 8.5, these numbers are more in-line with the reports released by the other districts.
It is a fact that teacher absenteeism is higher in urban school districts. However, Asbury Park has been diligent in monitoring the situation and has taken steps to improve the overall accountability of our teachers.
It goes without saying that we know the importance of having a teacher in every classroom at all times to provide a quality education and consistency in learning.”
Director of Special Services