§ 16-7.1-10. Professional development investment fund.
(a) In order to continue developing the skills of Rhode Island's teachers, administrators and staff, the general assembly establishes a Professional Development Investment Fund. The general assembly shall annually appropriate some sum and distribute it based on a pupil-teacher ratio that shall be adjusted annually by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education. School districts, including collaboratives established pursuant to chapter 3.1 of this title, may use funds received under this category of education aid to replace up to, but no more than, fifty percent (50%) of the amount the school district spent for professional development programs in the previous fiscal year. The expenditure of these funds shall be determined by a committee at each school consisting of the school principal, two (2) teachers selected by the teaching staff of the school, and two (2) parents of students attending the school. Schools that enroll students in the early grades (kindergarten through grade three (3)) must expend these funds on the development of scientific research based, as described in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Title 1, Part B, Section 1208 [20 U.S.C. § 6368], reading instruction to improve students reading performance.
Schools that have met their performance targets in reading for the current academic year and are not designated as a school in need of improvement, may expend their Professional Development Investment Funds on professional development in the core academic subjects of mathematics, writing, or reading to improve student performance.
Collaborative programs between schools are encouraged. These resources shall be used to close student performance gaps in accordance with the school's and district's strategic plan pursuant to § 16-7.1-2. Additional funds shall be allocated to the department of elementary and secondary education to support teacher and administrator professional development in all districts, including, but not limited to:
(1) Supporting mentoring systems;
(2) Providing school districts with program support to assist teachers in local school districts to improve reading instruction and enhance the integration of reading throughout the curriculum with the goal of improving student performance to high standards;
(3) Support for the design and implementation of leadership development for the teacher to assume leadership roles or ultimately prepare for administrator;
(4) Development of a plan for formal training of school leaders in standards based instruction, school improvement planning, effective use of data in the decision-making process, community involvement and creation of governance structures;
(5) Support for national board certification of teachers, application fees for a certificate of clinical competence issued by the American speech-language hearing association, and grants for coordination and support of school based teacher professional development; and
(6) The practice of scientific research based reading instruction to improve reading performance.
(b) In FY 2003, the additional funds allocated to the department of elementary and secondary education pursuant to this section shall be used only to support the activities described in subdivisions (a)(2) and (a)(5) of this section.
(c) Out of the funds appropriated by the general assembly for professional development in subsection (a) of this section, twenty-five percent (25%) shall be set aside for district-wide professional development activities. The expenditure of this district-wide professional development set-aside shall be determined by a committee in each district consisting of the superintendent or his or her designee, three (3) teachers appointed by the collective bargaining agent, and one member of the Rhode Island department of elementary and secondary education field service team servicing that school district designated by the commissioner of elementary and secondary education. The expenditure must be aligned with the district strategic plan as well as ongoing professional development programs approved by the department of elementary and secondary education. Collaborative programs between school districts are permissible.
(d) Beginning in FY 2006, professional development funds shall only be spent with the prior approval of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education upon submission of a district level plan which incorporates the school level plans and which details the use of the funds. These plans shall to the extent possible call for professional development activities that are embedded or do not otherwise encroach upon student instruction time. The requirements of this paragraph shall apply to both district-wide professional development activities and professional development activities determined by the school-level committees.
(e) In FY 2009 payments from the professional development investment fund are hereby suspended through June 30, 2009. Notwithstanding, school districts may continue to maintain professional development programs and may reduce other education programs to achieve savings.
(f) In FY 2010 payments from the professional development investment fund are hereby suspended through June 30, 2010. Notwithstanding, school districts may continue to maintain professional development programs and may reduce other education programs to achieve savings.
(P.L. 1997, ch. 30, art. 31, § 1; P.L. 1998, ch. 31, art. 31, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 31, art. 23, § 3; P.L. 2002, ch. 65, art. 18, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 400, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 219, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 310, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 321, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 337, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 376, art. 9, § 7; P.L. 2004, ch. 456, § 1; P.L. 2005, ch. 117, art. 13, § 6; P.L. 2009, ch. 5, art. 13, § 1; P.L. 2009, ch. 68, art. 3, § 1.)