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How are Salary Dollars Allocated in New Orleans Public Schools, and How Has that Changed Since 2005?

A Research Snapshot by Olivia Carr compares how New Orleans public schools divide salary dollars by job role pre- and post-Katrina.

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How are Salary Dollars Allocated in New Orleans Public Schools, and How Has that Changed Since 2005?

by Olivia Carr

This study from Tulane University’s Olivia Carr examines how New Orleans publicly funded schools divide salary dollars between different staff and compares salary trends for teachers, administrators, aides, and counselors between 2003-05 and 2018-20.

The vast majority of school “resources” are people. In 2017-2018, New Orleans allocated 48% of its education budget to salaries. Following a series of school reforms after Hurricane Katrina, almost all New Orleans schools transitioned from traditional public schools to publicly funded, privately run charter schools. School reforms affect salary spending in a variety of ways, and in New Orleans, charter reforms afforded schools and charter management organizations (CMO) a greater degree of flexibility in hiring and budget spending.

The overall findings of this study reinforce the results of prior ERA-New Orleans work on school spending and provide updated results and more detail regarding how salaries vary by staff role. These findings are:

  1. During 2018-20, New Orleans publicly funded schools allocated 50% of all salary dollars to teachers and 19% to administrators. This is a decrease in the percent allocated to teachers since 2003-05 and an increase in the percent allocated to administrators.
  2. We also looked more closely at possible reasons behind the changes in allocations and found that teachers’ average salary has decreased by 8% over time, but the number of teachers per student is largely unchanged.
  3. Administrators’ average salary is 22% higher than pre-Katrina, and the number of administrators per student has increased by 119%.
  4. Aides now earn 32% more on average, and the number of aides per student has doubled over time.
  5. Counselors’ average salary is about the same now as pre-Katrina, though there are 48% more counselors per student in recent years.

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