Teachers in the Essex County Vocational Technical School District picked the wrong guy to mess with. On Veterans Day, a state holiday, 71 teachers of the 223 district’s teachers submitted paperwork to take the day off, many by filing their request online the morning of the holiday.
That clearly did not sit well with Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. On Tuesday, he held a press conference with officials of the vo-tech school to call on Gov. Christie and state lawmakers to overhaul a state law on public school teachers and holidays. Under the current law, if a public school district holds regular classes on a state holiday, teachers are allowed to take the day off, receive full pay and not be charged for a sick or personal day.
“With the current state law in place, public school teachers get a free pass and can enjoy an extra day off with pay when they do not come to work on a state holiday,” DiVincenzo said in a prepared statement. “This loophole is unfair to their students who lose a day of instruction and unfair to the school district because of the added expense of paying for the extra day off and finding substitute teachers. The economic crisis touches us all and any initiative to save money, enhance classroom instruction and increase efficiency must be reviewed,” he added. “The state Legislature should abolish the law so that if a regular school day is scheduled on a state holiday, teachers should have to use a personal day to get the day off.”
What about Verona, you ask? We checked with Verona School Superintendent Charles Sampson, who said it’s not a problem here. “We have never had any issues of this nature,” he responded by e-mail, “and have always requested our teachers utilize sick and/or personal days to take the day off as it falls as an instructional day within our school calendar.”