New Orleans charter schools have increased spending on administrators and reduced spending for teachers in the years since charter schools took over nearly every public school after Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005.
That’s according to a study by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, based at Tulane University. It found a $706 per-pupil drop in instructional spending, largely driven by lower salaries and smaller benefit packages for educators.
Lower teacher pay can be attributed to the fact that nearly 7,000 educators were fired after Katrina and replaced by a much younger teaching force, nearly all of whom work in nonunionized charters.
But lower salaries just explained a third of the drop in instructional spending. Retirement benefits accounted for half the difference. Instead of using the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana, most New Orleans charter schools use 401(k)-style retirement plans.
A version of this article appeared in the February 08, 2017 edition of Education Week as Charter Schools