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Budgeting for training time

It’s nice, but it’s not free

By The Mercury

The school board plans to look next month at a district task force’s proposal to provide teachers with more planning, collaborative and professional development, all of which would be provided during normal classroom hours.

Each of these things individually and abstractly is an enhancement for any professional, teacher or otherwise. So the question is not their intrinsic merit.

But school districts, like other entities with budgets, rarely operate in a world of abstract good. Eventually the question will not come down to, in the words of the task force presenters, a matter of “good, better or best,” but rather to ways and means.

That’s government-speak for cash.

Because freeing up teachers from class time necessarily involves hiring additional fill-ins, the best estimate is that it will take about $125,000 to implement the minimum changes that are being advocated, that figure climbing to $450,000 for the “best” model. Cutting a corner or two could get that upper amount down to around $350,000.

Since they directed the task force to take on its task, district officials obviously have some interest in seeing the proposal through to some measure of implementation. Board members obviously will have to talk about those numbers

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