• 'The job isn't done': APS superintendent on decision not to renew her contract

    By: Richard Elliot

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen admits she was surprised to learn the board wasn't not going to renew her contract.

    Carstarphen says she was told in July that the board was split on renewing her contract.

    On Monday, the school board announced it would not renew her contract. Carstarphen said that’s when she found out, too.

    She told Channel 2’s Richard Elliot that she wants to keep her job, but also seemed prepared to move on.

    On Wednesday, Carstarphen held a roundtable to answer questions about her future.

    “It was a bit of a surprise on Monday for me only because it was my understanding that the board had been split,” she said.

    Carstarphen says the final decision is up to the board, but she says she’s made Atlanta her home and would like to stay.

    “The reason I’ve explained to the public and the board that I want to stay is because I believe the work isn’t done, so it’s not about just staying on the job,” she said.

    The board hired Carstarphen to help fix the mess left behind by the APS cheating scandal.

    “I just know that I was called to do this work, to do the best that I could, and to actually finish the job, and in my opinion, and only speaking for myself, that job isn’t done,” she said.

    Monday, board chair Jason Esteves complimented her on the progress made, but also told Elliot it was time to move on.

    “Five years ago, we needed Dr. Cartstarphen, and we appreciate the work she’s done over the last five years, but the question that the board is trying to tackle and tackled is whether that is the same leader who we need for the next five years,” he said.

    Carstarphen declined to answer questions about why she thinks the board failed to renew her contract.

    Former Gov. Roy Barnes believes the school board may have violated the state’s open meetings' law. Barnes thinks the board should have taken an official vote not to renew Carstarphen’s contract, but when Elliot asked him if they’re looking at potential legal action, he said, that's probably not going to happen.

    “I don’t think it meets the law, but even if it meets the letter of the law, it certainly does not meet the spirit of the law,” he said.

    Barnes says he wants to represent Carstarphen to protect her reputation and her career and warned some board members against what he calls “loose talk.”

    “They’ve run her off, which I think is a mistake, and I think the system will suffer from that mistake,” he said.

    Elliot asked Carstarphen if any other school districts have already contacted her.

    “Have any other school districts reached out to me? Well, depends. There seems to be a lot of chatter on social media,” she said.

    Her name also popped up during a DeKalb County School Board meeting.

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