It didn't take too many records for us to realize that teacher absenteeism was a problem in western Pennsylvania public school districts. Districts were paying millions of dollars every year to place (sometimes under-qualified) substitute teachers inside classrooms, while paying teachers for taking time off for reasons that ranged from field trips to maternity leave, professional training to family sickness.
To gather the data needed for this project, we submitted state Right-to-Know Act requests to 73 school districts in seven counties.
One of the first challenges we faced was simply obtaining the requested public records.
In Pennsylvania, public agencies ...Read more ...