New Orleans I’m sorry but I would bet money that it will not only be in New Orleans that a self-interested principal like Kathy Riedlinger at Lusher Charter School figures out with her handpicked board how to get paid over $200,000 a year! There is simply no transparency or accountability in the governance of charter schools, and certainly no citizen participation in actually electing such board members, so either cronyism or noblesse oblige is likely to prevail. This article in the Times-Picayune is certainly clear that Riedlinger is not alone, but that really isn’t too much comfort to me either.
The Times-Picayune today lists all of the test scores and finds that Lusher (which is now a very selective “public” school) is performing well, but not twice as well as others like Mary Bethune for example where the principal is making less than half of what Riedlinger is being paid. I’m not saying Riedlinger is a bad principal, but she’s not god’s gift to children’s education either, and certainly that extra hundred grand or so she’s pocketing could make a real difference in the education of a lot of little ones. I also think she’s been a wheel-and-dealer in the past as well and had to sit out for a spell some years ago when Lusher was under the Orleans School Board for jimmying a favored pupil into the school from outside the zone. That’s not a capital offense or anything, and I’m sure it was educational for her, but whatever it might have been, it certainly indicates she needs good supervision and real accountability, and not just a rubber stamp board with an open checkbook.
New Orleans is the largest charter school site in the country, and this is all out-of-control!