Central RPDC Copes with Loss of State Funding
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (July 15, 2010) – The Central Regional Professional Development Center, established in 1995 at the University of Central Missouri, plans to continue serving schools and districts for 2010-2011, but its operations and services will be limited due to recent state funding cuts. State budget restrictions that became effective July 1 include the elimination of $6.4 million for Missouri’s 11 Regional Professional Development Centers (RPDCs).
To better assess the total impact of the funding loss, Central RPDC Director Julie Blaine is working diligently with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to seek clarification regarding contracts, structures and services. She noted 100 percent of the state monies allocated for the RPDC infrastructure, as well as initiatives such as the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and the state portion of the Missouri Professional Learning Communities (PLC) project, will be affected by the budget cuts.
Although the restriction represents a significant reduction in funding for RPDCs across the state, “It appears likely, at this time, that we will retain some capacity to continue to assist regional school districts,” Blaine said. She added that Central RPDC, MAP, and PLC will now be operated on an income-supported basis through this fiscal year.
Initiatives that are either fully or partially funded with federal revenue will continue to be available to school districts through Central RPDC. These include School-Wide Positive Behavior Support (SW-PBS), Migrant English Language Learners (MELL), Professional Learning Communities (PLC), and Special Education Improvement.
Established by DESE, Missouri’s RPDCs build school communities’ capacity to maximize student performance through high-quality professional development opportunities for educators. Funding is provided through an annual grant from DESE, with additional support for the Central RPDC coming from the University of Central Missouri. Membership fees contributed by participating school districts also help support the center. The implementation of a new workshop participation fee will generate additional revenue to help the center maintain operations.
Since its founding, Central RPDC has enjoyed an outstanding working relationship with UCM’s College of Education, according to Dean Mike Wright. He stressed the important role the organization plays in this region.
“The Central Regional Professional Development Center provides critical services to teachers throughout west central Missouri,” Wright said. “Smaller, rural school districts cannot afford to provide their teachers the quality professional development they need, so it is imperative we do everything we can to maintain this service. In addition, the expertise of the RPDC has a positive impact on the undergraduate teacher preparation program at UCM.”
Seventy-two school districts benefit from services provided by the Central RPDC. Counties served are: Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cass, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Morgan, Pettis, Ray, St. Clair, Saline and Vernon, as well as others across Missouri.