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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- There are yard signs posted across the Lakeview neighborhood as incumbent Brett Bonin seeks to hold onto his 3rd District seat on the Orleans Parish School Board.

The founder of the non-profit New Schools for New Orleans has raised $110,000 to challenge Bonin.

The third candidate in the race is education activist Karran Harper Royal.

Bonin and Harper Royal are now raising questions about the salary Usdin declared on her financial disclosure form. She checked a box indicating she made $25,000 to $100,000, last year.

'I don't know why her salary would all of a sudden drop right before she runs for office for one-half of what it was before,' said Bonin.

'There needs to be some further investigation into this because the numbers don't jive. All of a sudden the year before you run for public office there's the lowest salary that you've made in the last five years,' said Harper Royal.

According to the IRS reporting form for non-profits, known as a 990, New Schools for New Orleans paid Usdin nearly $182,000 in 2007, nearly $163,000 in 2008 and nearly $146,000 in 2009 and 2010.

Usdin showed us her W-2 form for last year, which indicated she earned just over $91,000 in 2011.

'I'm on leave officially from NSNO to run this campaign, but I did take a quarter off,' said Usdin.

Bonin and Harper Royal say despite Usdin's large salary, eight of the nine schools recruited to New Orleans by Usdin are failing.

'I find it quite interesting that there is big money being made off of failing schools,' said Harper Royal.

'These are new schools that were started after Katrina,' said Bonin. 'Eight of them are failing. One of them has closed and another one, Langston Hughes, the bookkeeper embezzled I think it was $695,000.'

'Are those schools where we want them to be, are they competing yet with Franklin and Lusher? No,' said Usdin. 'Are they on the right path for the first since in 20 years that I've been doing this work? Absolutely.'

Usdin said she knows why her opponents are making an issue out of her salary.

'It's because we're running a great campaign.'

New Schools for New Orleans sent us an email confirming Usdin dropped down to a part-time employee in 2011, prior to her taking a leave of absence last October.

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