Research Report on Charters in New Orleans: Spending Up for Administration, Down for Instruction

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Education Research Alliance for New Orleans released a report today that has some troubling implications for those who think charter schools will reduce the cost of schooling by eliminating bureaucratic “bloat.” Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the charter school idea was germinating, advocates claimed that charter schools would save money because there would be fewer administrators and a sharp reduction in central office costs. But this turns out not to be the case in New Orleans.

The report by Christian Buerger and Douglas N. Harris of Tulane University is titled:

DOES SCHOOL REFORM = SPENDING REFORM?

THE EFFECT OF THE NEW ORLEANS SCHOOL REFORMS ON THE USE AND LEVEL OF SCHOOL EXPENDITURES

The key findings are these:

  • New Orleans publicly funded schools spent 13% ($1,358 per student) more per pupil on operating expenditures than the comparison group after the reforms, even though the comparison group had nearly…

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