Professional Development in an Era of Budget Cuts

Professional Development in an Era of Budget Cuts

We asked our advisory panel of administrators what their districts are doing for professional development as they face tighter budgets.

In June 2010 DA magazine asked our advisory panel of administrators what their districts are doing for professional development as they face tighter budgets.

Professional development funding has taken a cut overall. According to DA's survey, 31 percent of administrators reported a decrease in professional development funding, and 38 percent said professional development was only available because of federal grants.

Lisa McLaughlin, assistant superintendent of Western Heights (Okla.) Public Schools, cites the professional development budget as a "moving target" and in some cases it has been suspended so that funds could be relegated to "any expenditure deemed necessary for schools to continue operation."

Forty percent of administrators reported favoring the train-the-trainer module to train the staff to have in-house experts. Online professional development is growing, says 27 percent of administrators.

The cuts in some districts, while deep, have not been as severe as in others. The professional development budget in Lee's Summit R-7 (Mo.) School District dropped to 85 percent of its 2007-2008 level. Lincoln (Neb.) Public Schools reports a budget equivalent to those in past years, despite the addition of hundreds of students per year.

To learn more about the District Administration advisory panel, please contact editor-in-chief Judy Faust Hartnett at jhartnett@districtadministration.com.


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