The Baton Rouge Area Chamber—which is pushing for legislation this session to change the structure of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System to provide for more local control of schools, as well as grant greater principal autonomy and reduce the size of the school board—released a policy paper this afternoon criticizing the district’s spending plan. The budget analysis, conducted by BRAC Senior Vice President for Economic Competitiveness Michael DiResto “is intended to provide insight into how resources are being deployed relative to the system’s overall performance, calling into question the central office’s purview over certain expenditures,” BRAC says in a press release accompanying the policy paper. “The financial analysis serves, in part, as the basis for BRAC-supported legislation to improve school performance by increasing school-level autonomy and driving per-pupil funding at the school level.” Among the highlights in the report, BRAC says:
- 17,334 out of 42,334—or more than 4 in 10—students in EBRPSS attend schools that are rated D or F.
- With EBRPSS general fund budget of $429.5 million, close to $10,000 in state and local tax dollars are spent per student each year.
- Of total budget, $165.8 million, or close to 39% of annual expenditures, are controlled and directed by central office staff.
- Central office expenditure cap and optional autonomies could put more than $100 million under control of school leaders.