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TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey elementary school teacher who was allowed to keep his job despite being late for work 111 times in two years says eating breakfast is the reason for his tardiness.

An arbitrator in New Jersey rejected an attempt by the Roosevelt Elementary School to fire 15-year veteran Arnold Anderson from his $90,000-a-year job, saying he was entitled to progressive discipline.

Anderson remains suspended without pay until Jan. 1.

Speaking to The Associated Press on Friday, Anderson said he was one to two minutes late for work because he lost track of time while eating breakfast.

He says it's been very painful to not have a paycheck, but he concedes being fired would have been worse.

He says he will be early when he returns to work.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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