APS School Board not renewing superintendent's contract

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The Atlanta Board of Education announced they will not renew Dr. Meria Carstarphen's contract as superintendent.

The Board called a special meeting on Monday morning where members met in executive session to discuss Carstarphen's future with Atlanta Public Schools.

After meeting behind closed doors for more than three hours, Board Chair Jason Esteves read a prepared statement that said Carstarphen's contract will not be extended past next June.

Dr. Carstarphen has led APS since 2014. Her sixth year working with the school system began in July.

In the statement, the Board of Education commended Carstarphen's work but said that "the majority of the Board does not support an extension."

"Her efforts, along with the hard work of our students, families, teachers, administrators, partners, and the Board, have helped repair many of the issues that plagued our school system a decade ago," the Board said in a statement. "Dr. Carstarphen inherited a system in crisis and we appreciate her leadership during that difficult time. While progress has been made, there are still many challenges ahead."

According to the Board, leadership notified Carstarphen in July that there was not majority support to extend her contract and asked her to work with them on a transition plan.

"The Board acknowledges there will be some disagreement related to this decision, but we believe it is important for the good of the entire system to move forward now," the statement said. 

After the Board's decision was announced, Carstarphen sent a letter to APS staff, saying that "serving the children of Atlanta Public Schools in this role – and working alongside each of you – has been the greatest honor of my professional life."

"As I have expressed for the past few months, I had a sincere desire for a contract extension so that our team and I could complete the vision and charge I was hired to achieve for the benefit of Atlanta's children: Rebuild and restore trust in Atlanta Public Schools and position it for the future, especially after the largest cheating scandal in the history of public education," Carstarphen wrote in her letter.

Some parents at the meeting expressed concerns about what they saw as a lack of transparency in the process.

"It's very frustrating," said John Hutchins, whose child attends North Atlanta High School.  "I have no idea why the decision was made.  Nobody in Atlanta knows why the decision was made except the people in the executive session.  That's not a public process."

The Board said they did not need to hold a public vote because "no new contract is being offered." 

More information regarding the search and transition will be made available at the Board meeting in October.