An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. ~ Benjamin Franklin
One of the most difficult things about creating and maintaining a system of professional development for the teachers and administrators in your district is knowing how much money to spend – and where to find it. Are you overspending on your staff training budget, or not spending enough?
At Alludo, we believe that teachers deserve the best, but we also recognize that school districts have limited resources to put toward professional learning. That’s why we have a platform that combines the best of both worlds: an investment in teachers and a budget-friendly solution for school districts.
Table of Contents
- How Much Should I Budget for Staff Training?
- What Does a Training Budget Include?
- Identification of Initiatives with PD Components for New Product or Program Training
- Alludo’s Take
How Much Should I Budget for Staff Training?
School district budgeting for staff training isn’t as straightforward as it could be because the money for training often comes from multiple buckets. Before we explore how to determine whether your district is over- or underspending, let’s review some of the average costs of teacher training.
According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, school districts can spend as much as $18,000 per school year on expenses related to teacher training. That’s a lot of money for any district, working out to about 27.65% of the national average teacher salary. The NCTQ also noted that there is a lack of spending on new teacher induction programs and mentoring, both of which can help to reduce teacher burnout and turnover.
Spending varies depending on district resources, of course. According to Statista, the average teacher salary in the United States was $65,090 for the 2020-2021 school year. Teachers who work in school districts with limited resources may earn significantly less – and receive less robust (and less effective) professional development. Teachers in those districts are likely to have larger classes, a higher workload, and less time for professional learning.
We should note here that the cost of employee training is highly dependent on the form it takes. Traditional teacher training, which requires teachers to attend in-person classes, is far more expensive than the asynchronous, online training systems we create at Alludo.
A 2020 analysis published in Prevention Science broke down the cost of teacher professional development on an hourly basis. It found that the cost to add one participant to a traditional workshop could range from $663.64 to $1,132.78, while peer coaching could cost significantly less at $441.32. The study did not explore what we do at Alludo, which is far less expensive than traditional teacher professional development.
What Does a Training Budget Include?
Let’s take a look at what might be included in a typical school district budget. Before we get into the details, we should note that teacher professional development funds rarely come from one place in a budget. Your district may have a designated amount for PD time, which is usually used to pay for teachers’ time on in-service days. The money for other expenses may come from other places, including the following:
- Grant funds
This siloed approach to budgeting is a challenge because it can be difficult for assistant superintendents and administrators to get their arms around how much money they’re spending – and how much they can afford to spend.
So, what should your training budget include? Here are six areas where you will need to allocate funds.
Assessment of Current PD
Before you can determine what to spend on professional development, you need to know what your current PD is doing and what it isn’t. That means looking at the following areas:
- Teachers’ current skill sets
- Where your district needs to improve
- Your current infrastructure and technological capabilities
- Potential curriculum changes
- Which new learning initiatives should be prioritized
As you examine each area, ask which resources you have available, where they should be spent, and what you can do to maximize them. Use this information to set goals and prioritize them before you move on to the next step.
After you’ve assessed your current PD and created district goals, you’ll need to find PD providers, research them, and obtain quotes to compare to your current costs.
Keep in mind that the providers you research may have a platform that looks nothing like your existing staff training. For example, a district with traditional, synchronous PD would be switching to a whole new paradigm with Alludo’s platform, which uses asynchronous, online training.
Your technology capabilities and needs will play a big role in your training budget. Several of the school districts we have partnered with chose Alludo because they wanted to prioritize teacher training in (and use of) technology.
Incorporating online training, videos, and other easily-accessible forms of training that can be created once and used many times is essential if you want to save money on PD.
Teachers’ time is valuable and you’ll need to account for it in your training budget. We already noted that one of the few areas in a district budget that’s specifically allocated for PD is the bucket for teachers’ time on in-service days.
Keep in mind that traditional, synchronous PD often requires teachers to travel. While these costs might not show up in your budget per se, they do affect your spending. Teachers who are required to carve time out of their already-busy schedules, pay for gas, and take time away from their families are paying for PD in more than one way. Even more costly is the time it takes for a teacher to be away from the classroom, which requires coordinating with substitutes and potentially deviating from lesson plans and curriculum. The district may pay for these costs as well in teacher turnover.
Any budget you create for faculty & employee training must include money to track the results of professional development and oversee teachers’ progress.
Tracking can be difficult with synchronous PD but it’s easy with an online asynchronous system like Alludo’s, which has built-in metrics that you can use to track teachers’ progress and collect data.
Identification of Initiatives with PD Components for New Product or Program Training
In addition to the items we’ve already mentioned, it’s essential to keep in mind that teacher training needs are constantly changing. You’ll need to make room in your budget for someone to identify new programs and initiatives where teacher training programs might be required.
We recognize that this is a lot, but the good news is that many of the budgetary strains experienced by school districts can be alleviated with the adoption of asynchronous online training.
Are You Spending Too Much on Faculty & Staff Training?
Now that you have a handle on what you’re currently spending for staff training, it’s time to look at how your budget compares to what you could be spending.
If we use the figure we quoted earlier of $18,000 per teacher for a school year and assess the costs for a district with 1,000 teachers, the cost could be $18 million per school year. Some districts have that kind of money but many don’t.
At Alludo, we offer asynchronous online training that includes the following areas:
- Curriculum (Math, literacy, ELL)
- Equity and inclusion
- Innovation in learning
- EdTech and district applications
- Social emotional learning (SEL)
- Instructional coaching
- Teacher/staff effectiveness
- Distance and hybrid instruction strategies
You can choose to develop games and other training materials on your own, but most of the school districts that work with us choose the Managed option, which allows them to collaborate with Alludo to strategize about the structure of their learning environment and allows us to create games designed to help the district achieve its goals.
To give you an idea of how much you could save by choosing Alludo, here’s a sample quote for a district with 1,000 teachers. We chose the Managed option. Here’s how it would break down:
- 1,000 learners
- 1 year of Managed Approving Learner Licenses
- Managed Package Service Cost (one-time charge)
The total would be $41,000 per year. We also offer a three-year contract discount, so if our hypothetical district opted for a three-year contract, they would pay only $37,850 per year and $83,500 for three years.
The Alludo approach to professional learning is that it doesn’t need to be expensive to be effective. The districts that we have partnered with have experienced record teacher engagement, with learners completing thousands of hours of micro-learning courses every school year.
It’s for this reason that we’ve created a new school budgeting tool to help districts determine the best use of their PD funds.
Learner-centered asynchronous learning might seem like a big change if your district is using traditional PD, but here are some benefits to consider:
- Flexibility. We can design a system suited to your goals, and teachers have the freedom to complete courses when they choose.
- Trackability. You can run reports and track teachers’ progress quickly and easily.
- Learner-centered approach. Teachers are more likely to engage in PD if they have a voice and a choice in what they learn.
- Affordability. Online asynchronous learning is far less expensive than traditional PD.
- Scalability. It’s easy (and affordable) to scale to meet your expanding training needs.
We’re here to help you save money and improve your PD at the same time.
Are You Ready to Compare Alludo’s Costs to the National Average?
Professional development doesn’t need to strain your district budget or leave teachers feeling dissatisfied. With Alludo, you can save money and create a robust system of professional development that contributes to teacher job satisfaction and retention.
Experience personalized learning for all levels of educators with a free trial of Alludo’s professional development platform. You’ll enjoy:
- Hundreds of core topics
- Asynchronous microlearning activities
- Timely and specific feedback
- Analytics that show learning impact
- Access anytime, anywhere
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