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Atlanta school board renews superintendent’s contract
by Everett Catts
December 12, 2012 02:29 PM | 4011 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Erroll Davis
Erroll Davis
Despite some objections, the Atlanta Board of Education has renewed Superintendent Erroll Davis’ contract through December 2014.

At its meeting downtown Monday, the board voted 7-2 to extend the agreement 18 more months. Board members Nancy Meister (District 4) and Brenda Muhammad (District 1) dissented.

Davis’ current contract does not expire until June 30, but according to school system spokesman Stephen Alford, “it stipulates that if there is a contract extension, the board must inform him in December.”

At the Dec. 3 school board meeting, Meister motioned to require a supermajority vote (seven votes out of the nine-member board) be taken to renew Davis’ contract to placate the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which had placed the district on accredited probation in January 2011 due to the inability of the school board to demonstrate that it met the expectations of the accreditation standard on governance and leadership. In November, its status with the Georgia AdvancED Council, a division of the association, was upgraded from accredited in advisement to accredited.

“According to our SACS work, their recommendation was to have a consensus with the supermajority,” Meister said. “I felt it was a good practice. I felt it was something we needed to follow.”

At that meeting and at another Oct. 22, the board delayed the contract vote. The new pact has two new stipulations.

“If we hire a superintendent, that triggers a 90-day notice to the [current] superintendent,” Meister said. “The other is a clause that we can terminate his contract for any reason within 90 days as long as there is a majority [board] vote.”

Davis, a Buckhead resident who was hired in July 2011 as the interim superintendent to replace the retiring Beverly Hall, was criticized for having North Atlanta High’s senior staff, including interim Principal Mark MyGrant, abruptly removed Oct. 5 and replacing them with a transition team. New Principal Gene Taylor started at North Atlanta Oct. 29.

Davis also has been both praised and criticized for firing teachers and administrators implicated in the school system’s CRCT cheating scandal.

Meister, who represents Buckhead on the board, said she voted against the renewal because she wants to see a new superintendent hired soon.

“That’s the decision the board made, so we will move forward with it,” she said. “I would like to see [the board] diligently work on recruiting a new superintendent that will start July 1. I think it’s important to do this in earnest for our staff, students and parents. … We seem to be living in an interim world at APS and I don’t agree with that philosophy.”

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