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Inquiring Minds: Pennywise: The Training Investment

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Conventional wisdom says that schools spend next to nothing on professional development. Finance experts say that districts may spend up to 5 percent of their budgets on staff training, but they can't be sure. Investment in staff training is assumed to be so small that school officials often don't even bother to tally up the dollars.

Evidence from Flint, Mich., and other districts working with the Rockefeller Foundation, however, turns conventional wisdom on its head. At Rockefeller's request, Flint school officials inventoried their spending on staff training for the 1994-95 year. Only one line item in the district's $205 million budget was specifically earmarked for professional development, but officials uncovered another 65 line items where money was spent on staff training. The result, summarized below: Flint was spending nearly $2 million on staff training--seven times its official professional-development budget.

Professional Development $286,924
School Improvement 257,838
Eisenhower Mathematics and Science 217,269
Vocational Education 158,497
Title I 141,733
Pupil Personnel 136,854
Early Childhood 106,731
Community Education
(including adult education)
110,866
Special Education 104,378
Head Start 89,696
Labor Relations 61,357
Miscellaneous 54,302
Site-Based Management 52,793
Drug-Free Schools 39,808
Gifted 37,382
Curriculum Services 34,999
Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent,
Board
34,384
Bilingual Education 20,931
Individual Schools 15,403
Magnet Program 13,790
Indian Education 6,098
Driver Education 2,378
Total $1,984,411

SOURCE: Flint Public Schools.

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