Proposed staff development plan calls for $371,639 for teacher training

December 15, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Teachers could be spending more time on the other side of the desk if a new staff development plan is approved by the school board in the 1994-1995 budget proposal.

When administrators present the operating budget proposal to the board Jan. 12, it will include a request to spend $371,639 next year on training teachers to better instruct students.

"Staff development is not about staff -- the ultimate reason of staff development is what happens to youngsters," said Gary Dunkleberger, director of curriculum and staff development.

He presented the plan to the school board at its meeting last week, although no vote was taken.

While business spends 7 percent to 10 percent on staff development, schools typically spend 2 percent, he said. But Carroll County schools historically have spent a fraction of that. For the 1991-1992 school year, staff development took up 0.12 percent of the operating budget, or $126,248.

The proposed plan calls for spending $371,639 the first year, increasing slightly each year and leveling off at $465,639 by the 1998-1999 school year. The money goes to hire one supervisor for staff development and, eventually, five regional "facilitators," people who would coordinate training programs for teachers in each section of the county.

A central place for most of the training and materials probably would be in Uniontown Elementary School or the old Hampstead Elementary School, administrators said.

Teachers have a responsibility in the new plan to develop an application for how they would spend a maximum allotment of $150 each.

Teachers could use the money to bring in a substitute so they would be free to observe other teachers in Carroll or elsewhere. Or they could use the money to take courses, go to conferences or buy materials, he said. Dr. Dunkleberger said that because teachers are at different stages in their career, the kind of training a new teacher needs will be different from the needs of a veteran.

"It's modeled after a program in Washington County," Dr. Dunkleberger said. In that county, he said, about 40 percent of teachers participated in the offer to develop their own training plans and apply for the money. It has since grown to 60 percent. Dr. Dunkleberger said he expects a similar rate of participation by Carroll teachers.

Based on that, administrators are budgeting $97,000 a year for the individual allotments.

The staff development through this plan would help teachers implement outcomes-based education, but that approach is not the only reason for increasing teacher training, Dr. Dunkleberger said.

"Whether we go to an outcomes approach or not, we need to do more with staff development," he said.

"Historically, we have not done enough with staff development. This plan was done [in 1991] completely separate from outcomes-based education," he said.

One reason schools are reluctant to budget large amounts of money for staff development is that state regulations require the money be categorized as administrative costs, said Superintendent R. Edward Shilling.

Adding expenses in administration leads taxpayers and parents to complain that the school budget is too fat with bureaucratic costs, and not spending enough on instruction, he said.

"As a result, that money doesn't get funded," Mr. Shilling said. "It doesn't even get requested, in some cases."

Former school board member and Manchester parent Cheryl McFalls, who attended the board meeting last week where the plan was unveiled, urged the current board to lobby for changing the regulation.

Deputy Superintendent Brian Lockard said the category issue hasn't been the only reason Carroll schools have not increased the money they spend on teacher training.

But he said it has made the schools reluctant to hire the extra staff needed to implement the development plan.

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