Recovery School District’s budget shrinks as it shifts to all-charter district

The Recovery School District’s budget is getting smaller as it gets out of the business of running schools in New Orleans.

The state-run district is planning to spend much less next year than it did five years ago. Total costs have decreased by about 57 percent, from $493 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will review the RSD’s proposed $214 million budget for 2014-15 on Tuesday. Board members plan to adopt the budget in August.

The operating budget has taken the steepest dive, from $304 million in 2009-10 to just $20 million next year.

The shrinking budget isn’t surprising.

The RSD has closed and chartered New Orleans schools over the past several years. With the closure of its last direct-run schools in the city this spring, the country’s first all-charter district has cut back on school staff and central office administrators.

The per-pupil funding that went to the Recovery School District will now go to charter organizations.

The district still offers administrative support for those schools. Its budget accounts for such expenses at 65 charter schools, 58 of which are in New Orleans.

The budget also accounts for “current and future school turnaround work” at districts around the state, according to budget documents submitted to the BESE.

While the operating budget has declined sharply, the construction budget has been steady. Five years ago it was $189 million; it will be $194 million next year.

Though state officials don’t directly manage schools, they are still responsible for stabilizing and renovating their share of school buildings damaged by Hurricane Katrina, under the city’s school facilities master plan.

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About Jessica Williams

Jessica Williams stays on top of the city's loosely organized collection of public schools, with a special emphasis on charter schools. In 2011 she was recognized by the Press Club of New Orleans for her reporting on charter school transparency and governance. In 2012, she was part of a team that received a National Edward R. Murrow Award for their work following a New Orleans family's recovery after Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Edna Karr Secondary School in Algiers, and she obtained her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. She can be reached at (504) 575-8191.

  • nickelndime

    THE RSD BUDGET didn’t SHRINK. It just SLINKED over to State/BESE/LDOE-favored CMOs and charter networks of high interest where a powerful few and well-connected individuals have been feathering their nests over the past couple of years. If that were not so, then people like the former superintendent, “start-his-own-business-in-education” Paul Pastorek, wouldn’t be returning to Louisiana to call in a few favors. Sure, Paul won’t be returning to government work (as if he could!), but he’s going to do what the others are doing – making money through the government, not actually working for it. (Get ready! I am rolling on the floor – but not on my dirty floors – Gotcha’ HalfFullClass!)

  • HalfFullClass

    You roll on that clean floor while Paul Pastorek rolls up the Benjamins.
    Leslie Jacobs will spam her mailing list with the good news.
    Those new buildings will all be over budget and there will be no money for upkeep or maintenance.
    At least we are not spending construction bond money on iPads with Pearson software like Las Angeles. Not yet.
    Our only hope is to Stop, Drop & Roll

  • nickelndime

    You got me rolling, HalfFullClass! O yeah, Leslie is on this alright, like gravy on rice. “Paul is coming home! Paul is coming home! Get the fatted calf ready.”

  • nickelndime

    Remind me, HalfFullClass, what do da Benjamins look like again? I do believe that I am in a third- world agrarian economy where youth are being taught how to grow their own food. Well, I, for one, ain’t gonna take no chicken’s life, but I might sneak an egg or two!