DETROIT -

Teacher absence is a leading indicator of student achievement. That being said, how do local school districts rate in terms of teachers missing class?

Local 4 Defender Karen Drew takes a look at how districts rate in terms of teacher absence, and how other districts are trying some innovative ways to improve teacher's attendance.

Kindergarten teacher Lisa Cooker is a perfect example of what L'Anse Creuse School District is doing to ensure a student's achievement.

Cooker said she hasn't missed a day of school all year.

"Well, the children have to get used to somebody else. It interferes with their normal routines, especially with kindergarten, they're used to having that security and normal routine," said Cooker. "So, if you're in and out, it is a detriment to their learning."

Kindergarten teacher Laura Zaiglin of Joseph M. Carkenord Elementary School also has perfect attendance this year.

"I guess, it's just, you know, I think it would be hard for the kids to, you know, be with another teacher," said Zaiglin. "It's not familiar to them and they could, just like more consistency and have fun."

Studies show teacher absence lowers student achievement. What is typical for teacher's attendance?

Nationally, for full time workers, 3-percent absence is average. For the American teacher, the national average is 5.3 percent.

It's important to note teachers' absence rate includes maternity leave, and in-service days.

The Local 4 Defenders wanted to know how Metro Detroit's top ten populated districts did in terms of teacher absenteeism.

After some research, the Utica School District had the lowest teacher absence rate with 4 percent, below the national average at a cost of $1,082,310.

"Oh, I'm very glad. Yeah, I'm not surprised," said Utica parent Linda Topski. "I know it's a great district, and the teachers are great here."

The L'Anse Creuse School District was also below the national average with 4.79 percent teacher absenteeism, which cost the district $322,886.

"It definitely makes my job easier knowing that I can count on them," said Joseph M. Carkenord Elementary School Principal Chris May. "They're here every day and that consistency, it's very valuable."

At Warren Consolidated Schools, teachers missed school 6.79 percent of the time, at a cost of $1,020,190.59 to taxpayers.

The Livonia School District could not provide a percentage of teacher absence, but did tell Local 4 Defender Karen Drew the district did spend $1,366,561.74 a year on substitute teachers.

The same with Southfield; The district said it spent $1,001,707.44 on substitute teachers last year, but did not have a percentage of teacher absence.

"Wow that's a lot! That seems like a lot of money for substitute teachers."

How did the Detroit School District do in terms of teacher attendance, and what did their absence cost taxpayers? After waiting months, the district has refused to share that information.

The same goes with the Ann Arbor School District. It too would not release teacher attendance records to us, instead, keeping that information secret.

"That seems odd not to want to reveal the information," said Ann Arbor resident Sally Camper.

Rounding out the top ten populated districts in our area, Plymouth Canton School District's teachers miss school 7.58 percent of the time, at a cost of $1,843,601.60.

Chippewa Valley has a 8.1 percent teacher absence rate, at a cost of $1,216,832.24.

Finally, Dearborn schools have a 7.45 percent teacher absence rate, which costs the district $1.7 million.