NS 8-6 Anchor Carstarphen 2 top story Meria Carstarphen

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, Ed.D., interacts with students from Cleveland Avenue Elementary School in 2014, shortly after taking the helm.

A poll of voters living in the city of Atlanta, including some who are parents of children attending Atlanta Public Schools, shows they overwhelmingly support district Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, whose contract was not renewed last month.

In a special called meeting Sept. 9, the Atlanta Board of Education announced it would not renew her contract, and the current one expires June 30, following the end of the 2019-20 academic year. Though no formal vote was required by the board to not renew Carstarphen’s contract (a formal vote is required by the board in renewing the superintendent’s contract), it was later determined that five of the eight board members were in favor of not renewing her contract.

The poll of 500 of the city’s voters was conducted and funded Oct. 3 by Landmark Communications and has a margin of error of 4.1%. It states 75% of voters who said they have a child in the Atlanta district said they support extending her contract, with just 21% opposed.

Carstarphen was hired as the superintendent in 2014 and increased the district’s graduation rate by 20.8% to an all-time high of 79.9% in 2018 but still below the state average of 81.6% and other local school districts’ rates. The Atlanta rate dropped to 78.0% this year.

Carstarphen is also credited with leading the district out of the CRCT cheating scandal, which drew national attention.

By a margin of 64-18%, Atlantans polled said they support extending Carstarphen’s contract, and 18% said they are undecided. In terms of race, African American voters said they support her contract being extended by a 66-16%% margin, and white voters support it by a 65-17% margin.

Regarding Carstarphen’s job performance, voters said they view it favorably, by a 63-12% margin.

While the poll helps prove her support from residents, it likely won’t be enough to sway the board to change its mind. A search for Carstarphen’s replacement is already under way.

For more information on the poll, visit www.facebook.com/landmarkcommunications1.

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