Budget woes could mean less training for DeKalb teachers

The school system currently requires teachers to have 20 hours of professional development a year. On Wednesday, the board’s instruction committee discussed cutting training time to 10 hours a year.

Last month, the board approved a budget for next school year with $104 million in cuts, including seven furlough days for teachers. A proposal calls for three of those furlough days to be designated teacher professional development days, said Gloria Talley, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning.

To make up for that lost time, administrators are proposing teachers see to their professional development during the school day and in between instruction time.

Board member Sarah Copelin-Wood said she worried that the district was trying to get “free labor” from teachers by having training during the school day.

“DeKalb has a long history of paying teachers stipends for staff development. With the budget cuts, I’m not sure how long we can commit to that,” Talley told board members.

Talley said it actually will benefit teachers because they will have on-the-job training. Talley added she would rather have teachers get less training then cut instruction hours for students.

The state requires teachers take 100 hours of training every five years to renew their teaching certificate, said Sonja Alexander, the district's director of professional learning. However, this year the legislature passed a bill that would suspend that training requirement until June 30, 2015, Alexander said. That bill is awaiting the governor's signature.

The board will vote on the training cut later this summer.

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