Wednesday, June 27, 2007

New Orleans Schools

There are lots of ideas out there. Some are good, some are bad, but nearly always someone is making money off of education. Generally speaking, this is not your classroom teacher. I don't know what the budget is or was for New Orleans Public Schools, but certainly there was not an adequate return for the investment no matter what it was for the last 30+ years. Here are some ideas that I have read about lately.

1) Cluster cafeterias. - Good sounding idea. Bad idea in practice, I think. My favorite quote from this article:

Pastorek vowed that decent hot lunches will be delivered virtually every day and that students won't find stalls without doors or dismembered sinks in restrooms.

"Hopefully they'll find very humane conditions," he said.
I sure hope so, too. Do you remember going to school in inhumane conditions? I think this speaks volumes about how people view the students at public schools in New Orleans.

Also, more cafeterias open means more jobs for local folks. I don't think education should be the driving force of the New Orleans economy, but schools need staff. Staff lives in the area, buys food, gas, and housing, pays taxes.

2) School security expense - A group from Texas - the Guidry Group - has been providing security for the state run schools at a cost of $20 million. My favorite quote from this article:

Michael Guidry, president of the Guidry Group, acknowledges that the contract was pricey, but he says it was worth it to the district.

"Does it cost a lot of money? Yes. Have we lost any children? No," he said last week.

I would have asked a different rhetorical question - "Are we bleeding Louisiana and New Orleans dry? Yes. Do we care? No."

I know I could find this out, but I wonder how many students there are in the State Run Schools. I would love to know the cost per student for security versus the cost per student for teachers and books and running the school. Maybe this is something for me to delve more deeply into. I think I read somewhere that the budget for the school system (pre-k?) was $500 million. If so, security is 4%. If it is less than $500 million, what is the percentage now? (I found a budget agenda on the nops website. I don't know if that includes state run schools or what, but the total revenue was 272 million).

Accountability is key. As long as no one has to answer for bad ideas and money being paid for bad ideas, they will continue to be a problem.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Check out for more info. on security in the RSD-run schools.