Consultants Release Findings from Review

Consultants Release Findings from Comprehensive Review of District’s Organization and Salary Schedule
Posted on 03/08/2024
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For Immediate Release – March 8, 2024
Contact: Delia A. Taylor, APR at 225-931-0286 or [email protected], Superintendent Joe Murphy at 225-686-7044 or [email protected].

Consultants Release Findings from Comprehensive Review of District’s Organization and Salary Schedule
Board Schedules Public Presentation of Findings for March 28

LIVINGSTON, La. – A comprehensive analysis of the Livingston Parish Public Schools (LPPS) financial organization and salary structures shows, “unlike several peer school systems, LPPS has sound fiscal stewardship practices and is ‘living within its means.’”

A consultant with LEAN Frog, a national recognized expert in providing operational and programmatic assessments of educational organizations, presented the findings of its six-month-long study to the Livingston Parish School Board’s Cost Savings Committee on Thursday (March 7). The presentation included an overview of Comprehensive Organizational Review and Compensation Review, which in total contained 430 slides of observations, commendations, findings, opportunities, and data. The data to support the presentation represented approximately 390 slides.

The entire report is available upon request from LPPS and will be available through an electronic link on the district webpage at

The report showed pay for LPPS teachers ranks at the lowest, or next to the lowest, at all steps and degree levels when compared to their peers, according to the findings. In fact, pay for most positions in the district lags that of their peers by between 8% at starting pay and 14% at ending pay, including district and campus administrators, according to the analysis.

At the same time, the study shows the district lacks the number of high-level administrators needed to sufficiently service its many campuses for professional development, mentoring and individual support, which is crucial to each school’s success.

Superintendent Joe Murphy said the district hired the firm last year to conduct a thorough analysis of the district’s organizational structure and salary schedule, following the district’s failed attempt to gain voter approval of a 1-cent sales tax to fund pay raises across the board.

The study sought to identify potential cost-saving measures and provide school leaders will a possible roadmap to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the district’s organizational and compensation structures.

“We felt this study was necessary to provide greater transparency of our system, as well as to identify where we can be more efficient,” Murphy said. “At the end of the day, whether we gain voter approval for increased funding or not, we must do all we can to provide the very best product that we can. This study is helping us to identify what options do and do not exist.”

Results of Salary Structure Analysis

In comparing the district’s salary structure to peer districts, the LEAN Frog report looked at 40 benchmark positions – employee positions that included teachers, principals, accountants, maintenance workers, facility managers, nurses, secretary, social workers, and supervisors, to name a few. Consideration was given to years of service and level of education or certification as compared to those positions in other districts.

The result showed 38 of the 40 benchmark positions (employee positions) were below peer average. Those 38 positions represent 3,419 employees – more than 90% of the district’s employees – who receive less money than their peers in other districts.

The report also noted that the district’s pay schedule has fewer steps than its peer districts, as well as fewer built-in pay increases in those steps. In particular, the report highlighted that Livingston Schools has 26 steps for its teachers and only 18 pay increases built into those steps, whereas most peer pay schedules increase at all steps.

The consultants recommended the district increase its structure to 30 steps (instead of 26) and add pay increments at more steps. They suggested a starting pay increase of 3.5%, contingent upon available funding, with increasing values for all schedules incrementally each year after, with those pay increases ranging from 30% to 50%, over the course of employment, to be in alignment with peer districts. The district should also standardize its degree values to compete for employees with higher degree ranks, the report stated. The district’s failed 1-cent sales tax increase proposal would have allowed LPPS to give a 10% pay raise or minimum $2,5000 annual increase to all employees.

The report showed that LPPS does a better job of retaining its employees when compared to peer districts. However, the district is facing an immediate “staffing challenge,” as more than 25% of all district leaders and principals are eligible for retirement within the next year. At the same time, 25% of all custodial and technology staff are eligible for retirement within the next year, as well.

Results of Organizational Structure Analysis

The report also evaluated the number of employees and range of pay in the various categories to determine that Livingston Schools is “not top heavy,” and its investments are in line with the district’s structure, as LPPS expenditures represents 95.48% of its total revenues.

In particular, the report shows that Livingston Schools utilizes only two supervisors (assistant superintendents) to do the jobs that high-performing peer districts have three to four individuals doing, and other districts have as many as nine individuals doing. For example, Calcasieu Parish has seven positions, reflecting a student to leader ratio of 3,967 to 1 (total enrollment is 27,773); while St. Tammany Parish has nine positions for a student to leader ratio of 4,149 to 1 (total enrollment of 37,35). LPPS has a student to leader ratio of more than 13,200 to 1 (total enrollment is 26,433).
However, the data does indicate the district’s ratios of staff-to-school and students-to teacher are competitive, if not more favorable, when compared to similar-size systems. The report calls it a “strategic approach in staffing.”

“Simply put, this report clearly shows Livingston Schools invests in staffing at the campus level as best as possible. We put our dollars where the kids are,” Murphy said.
The consultants noted, the “data reflects that, unlike several peer school systems, LPPS has sound fiscal stewardship practices and is ‘living within its means.” The report added that according to the Louisiana Department of Education data, Livingston Schools has the lowest expenditures as a percentage of revenue of all high-performing peers and had the third lowest of similar-sized peers.

The district receives $15,126 in revenues per student, while the peer average was $16,125.74 per student, according to the comparisons. For Livingston Schools to match its peer districts in revenues per student, the district would need to take in approximately $26.43 million more in revenue each year. The district’s failed 1-cent sales tax increase proposal would have enabled LPPS to bring in $24 million in additional annual revenue.

The consultants offered organizational recommendations that included hiring more maintenance and custodial staff to reduce the district’ overtime pay. The report noted that maintenance costs, custodial costs, and worker’s compensation pay outs have all increased over the past three years.

The district has a consistent shortage of bus drivers. Transportation costs have escalated by more than 30% despite the district operating a constant fleet size over four years, the report said.

District Response to Report

Murphy said the school board has asked the LEAN Frog consultants to present their findings to the public on March 28 at 6 p.m. at the LPPS Suma Professional Development Center, which is located at 17457 Wes McLin Road, Suite F, Livingston, LA 70754.

“It’s important that our public know these facts and be given an opportunity to submit questions,” Murphy said.

He said the summary reports are posted on the district’s web page for the public to view, as well as on the district’s social media platforms. A link to the full report is available on the district’s web page, at

“There are some recommendations in the report that I think this administration can use to better streamline some services and to better incentivize our employees; still ample resources are not currently available to carry out all recommendations to make our district more comparable and competitive,” Murphy said.

“But as our district continues to be good stewards of our resources, and as we find opportunities to make investments, these recommendations will give us a ‘best case scenario’ roadmap on how we might can improve,” he said.