Atlanta Public Schools

A Closer Look
2:54 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Councilwoman Mary Norwood On The Adair Park School Controversy

Adair Park neighbors want a developer to purchase the George Adair School property.
Credit Maria Saporta / special to WABE

Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood has never been shy of controversial topics. Now, she is taking on disagreements regarding the historic Adair Park community in southwest Atlanta.

Community members want a developer to purchase the George Adair School, that has been an empty eyesore in Adair Park for years. But Mayor Kasim Reed has refused to release the property deed to Atlanta Public Schools because of an ongoing dispute over BeltLine tax payments.

Today on "A Closer Look," Mary Norwood shared her view of the dispute.  

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:23 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Empty Schools Could Become Future Public Parks

A banana plant grows near the Kirkwood Urban Forest. Council member Julian Bond says he wants the city of Atlanta to turn unused school properties into public parks like this.
Credit Mary Claire Kelly / WABE

Council member Julian Bond says he wants the city of Atlanta to turn unused school properties – to which the city holds the deeds – into public parks.

He says the city is growing quickly, but doesn’t have enough green space, and it's not clear how much land is sitting empty, so he says the first step is to catalog it.

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7:56 am
Fri February 13, 2015

DeKalb Charter Cluster Proposal May Get Second Chance

The DeKalb County school board voted 5-4 against the charter cluster proposal over a year ago.
Credit Nick Nesmith / WABE

A petition for a Druid Hills charter schools cluster may get a second chance for approval in DeKalb County.

The charter cluster petition would have given Druid Hills High School and its feeder schools more autonomy, loosening the grip of the school district. But the DeKalb school board narrowly rejected the proposal just over a year ago.

Recently, some petitioners considered annexing to Atlanta, which would make the schools a part of APS.

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A Closer Look
3:34 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Ready To Fix 'Broken' System

Credit Jason Parker / WABE

Dr. Meria Carstarphen blogs, she tweets and she constantly promotes positive news about the Atlanta Public Schools system. She was hired as its superintendent last summer with a unanimous vote by the Atlanta Public Schools board.

When she arrived in Atlanta, APS Board Chairman Courtney English was quoted as saying, "This city could use some unity. She's the right leader at the right time."  

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A Closer Look
3:10 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Sounds Off Again on APS Dispute

Reed talked with ''A Closer Look'' co-hosts Rose Scott and Denis O’Hayer live in the WABE studio today about all of his recent achievements, his controversies and his ideas for the future.
Credit Alison Guillory / WABE

Last week Mayor Kasim Reed delivered a State of the City report that touted “the largest influx of jobs into Atlanta in more than 40 years.” He’s overseen the maiden voyage of the Atlanta Streetcar, managed the sale of Underground Atlanta, and secured the arrival of Google Fiber.

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A Closer Look
12:28 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Adair Park Caught In Dispute Between Mayor Reed and Atlanta Public Schools

The Adair Park community was established in 1892.
Credit Maria Saporta / special to WABE

Last July, my son David bought a house in the transitional neighborhood of Adair Park. The beautiful community in southwest Atlanta is an enclave in the midst of some of the city's most depressed neighborhoods.

My son believed in the renaissance that was coming. Construction of the southwest leg of the Atlanta BeltLine was about to start — only two blocks away from his 1925 home. Yet three doors down from his house was the boarded up George Adair Elementary School — vacant since 1973 and a victim of demolition by neglect.

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10:27 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Ex-APS Official: District Ordered Documents Destroyed

Former Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall, right, waits for motions at a Fulton County Superior Court hearing for several dozen Atlanta Public Schools educators facing charges alleging a conspiracy of cheating on the CRCT standardized tests in Atlanta on May 3, 2013.
Credit David Tulis / Associated Press

The former Atlanta Public Schools human resources chief says the district's former superintendent ordered drafts of a report on the investigation into standardized test cheating allegations to be destroyed.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday that Millicent Few said she was told it was legal to destroy the drafts because they weren't final.

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10:37 am
Fri January 23, 2015

Study: Metro Area Could Add 4 Million People By 2030

Up to 4 million more people may be living in the metro Atlanta area within the next 15 years, according to a new report released by the Washington, D.C., based Urban Institute.
Credit Gregor Smith /

The metro-Atlanta area can expect a big population growth in the next 15 years, according to a new report released by the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute.

The study lays out 27 scenarios for population growth based on historical data for births, deaths and migration. Even under the most conservative projections, the study shows the metro population could grow by more than a million by 2030.

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6:52 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Atlanta Mayor Blasts Council President Over BeltLine Debt Proposal

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Tuesday blasted City Council President Ceasar Mitchell for interfering in negotiations with Atlanta Public Schools. Reed and APS are currently working to resolve a contract dispute over millions in debt related to paying for the Atlanta BeltLine.

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4:55 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

APS Parents Press City Council, Mayor on BeltLine Money

APS officials say the city owes the district millions of dollars of allocated tax revenue.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

The Atlanta public school system has been pushing city officials to pay up millions of dollars it says it’s owed. Now, some APS parents are getting involved.

Some background: In 2005, APS agreed to give some of its property tax dollars toward the development of the BeltLine. In return, the city said it would make yearly payments to APS. But once the recession hit, the city said it couldn't pay.

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4:47 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Atlanta Superintendent Says There's A Lot To Fix

Carstarphen and the district have developed a new strategic plan in hopes of combating mismanagment.
Credit Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta Superintendent Meria Carstarphen held a roundtable discussion with reporters today. The APS chief explained how the district plans to address some long-running problems.

You could call it a “back to basics” approach. Carstarphen said before APS can make academic progress, it has to tackle some systemic issues.

“Simple things that get very simple in our world: master scheduling and scheduling for students, bus routes, things that most districts kind of do like clockwork, but for APS it has been a struggle over the years,” she said.

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5:23 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Construction Begins On Westside Trail Of Atlanta BeltLine

Another stretch of the BeltLine is now ready for development.
Credit WABE

  Wednesday morning, city leaders broke ground on the 3-mile Westside trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. Mayor Kasim Reed says the expansion shows the city’s commitment to Southwest Atlanta. 

“Many people in the Southwest community never believed that we would make a $43 million investment in this part of town,” Reed says.

A federal grant will speed up construction on the new segment by two to three years. The trail will run from University Avenue in Adair Park up to Lena Avenue at Washington Park.

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Youth Radio
12:12 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Youth Radio: Ripple Effects Of Cheating Teachers

Jenn Steckl
Credit Youth Radio

As Atlantans follow the ongoing trial of Atlanta Public School teachers and administrators charged with cheating, students in the APS district are taking a special interest in the proceedings. Youth Radio Atlanta’s Jenn Steckl sent us her thoughts on how the cheating and its aftermath hurt every student in the system. 

Jenn Steckl is a senior at Grady High School. Her commentary was produced by Youth Radio.

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Atlanta Public Schools
1:43 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

APS Cheating Trial Day 2: Live Tweets, Part 1

Fulton Senior Assistant District Attorney Clint Rucker questions witness Justina Collins during testimony Tuesday.
Kent Johnson Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Rose Scott is covering the trial of the 12 former Atlanta Public Schools educators accused of a conspiracy to raise school scores by changing the answers on student tests.  The trial enters its second day of testimony today.

Here are Rose's tweets from the morning of Tuesday, September 30.  They are arranged in chronological order.

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4:28 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

For Some APS Students, First Lady's Advice Affirms Their Plans

First Lady Michelle Obama told Atlanta high school students to plan on college.
Credit Ryan Nabulsi /

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School Monday. Mrs. Obama told students to plan on going to college. But some students have already jump-started the process.

The First Lady didn’t hold back. She told students earning a high school diploma isn’t enough if they want to compete in a global workforce.

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3:36 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Still Facing Skepticism, Atlanta Business Community Gradually Re-engaging With APS

APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has said she'll be an independent voice for Atlanta students.
Credit Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta’s business community has been gradually re-engaging with Atlanta Public Schools, raising big sums for APS board candidates and the new superintendent. It follows several years of lying relatively low, and comes as APS leaders increase efforts to rebuild trust with parents.

Richard Quartarone says during former Superintendent Beverly Hall’s tenure parents lacked access compared to business leaders. Quartarone has two kids in APS and leads a parent group in southeast Atlanta called Southeast Atlanta Communities for Schools.

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7:04 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Georgia School Districts Weigh Different Operating Models

Credit Michelle Wirth/WABE News

Due to a 2008 state law, all Georgia school systems will have to decide by the end of next June whether to continue as a traditional school district or choose two other options. State officials say the law was passed in an attempt to spur innovation and the other choices would allow school systems more flexibility from state education rules. School systems from across the state recently attended a Georgia Charter Schools Association symposium focused on the three choices and collaboration between charter and traditional schools.

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5:16 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Negotiations Remain Tense Between City of Atlanta and APS Over BeltLine Debt

Erroll Davis, left, is working to resolve an ongoing dispute with the City of Atlanta over BeltLine debt.
Credit Atlanta Public Schools

Negotiations remain tense between the city of Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools over millions of dollars in debt related to the Atlanta BeltLine.

Under an existing contract that lays out the BeltLine’s funding, APS claims the city owes it as much as $19 million, including a $6.75 million payment due last January.

“There is a degree of frustration having talked about this for multiple years and watching the payments not be made,” said former APS Superintendent Erroll Davis, who was retained to help the school system resolve the dispute.

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2:41 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Lockdown Of West Atlanta High School Lifted After Handgun Recovered

The scene at Frederick Douglass High School at around 2:30 p.m. this afternoon.
Credit Jonathan Shapiro/WABE

Update 4:45 p.m.

Atlanta school officials earlier today locked down Frederick Douglas High School in west Atlanta after receiving a tip there was a handgun on campus. The lockdown was lifted after the gun was recovered. All students are safe. Two students suspected to be connected to the handgun are being detained. No arrests have been made yet.

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Atlanta Public Schools
4:51 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Cheating Trial Underway with Jury Selection Process

Prosecutors and defense attorneys prepare for pre-trial arguments.
Kent D. Johnson/The Atlanta Journal Constitution

The first group of prospective jurors for the upcoming Atlanta schools cheating trial arrived at Fulton County Superior Court today.

The final twelve jurors and eleven alternates will come from over a thousand initially summoned.

WABE’s Rose Scott reports, the trial of the twelve former APS educators could be lengthy and expensive.

In courtroom 1C, which is called a ceremonial courtroom, the first set of potential jurors was given a questionnaire.

And they were also given a procedural speech by Judge Jerry Baxter which included instructions to be on time.

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Atlanta Public Schools
3:42 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Top APS Students to Get Full Tuition Scholarship to Georgia Tech

APS superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen stands with Georgia Tech president Dr. Bud Peterson at Booker T. Washington High School Thursday. The pair just announced a program that will give top APS students full scholarships to Ga Tech.
Credit Jim Burress / WABE News

Atlanta Public School students who graduate at the top of their classes can now go to one of the nation’s top institutions of higher learning.  For free.

The deal is the result of a program announced Thursday called APS Scholars@Georgia Tech. 

The idea’s simple: Graduate as valedictorian or salutatorian of your high school class, and you get comp’d four years of tuition as a Yellow Jacket.

Speaking Thursday at Booker T. Washington High School in southwest Atlanta, Superintendent Meria Carstarphen praised the partnership for opening new doors.

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Atlanta Public Schools
5:48 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

No Air Conditioning? No Textbooks? No Problem, Says Atlanta Public Schools

Atlanta school officials say the textbooks are expected to arrive some time during the first quarter of the school year.
Credit Image courtesy of

Monday, August 4th, 2014 was the first day of school for many metro Atlanta students.

However, in some Atlanta schools lack of air conditioning and a lack of textbooks were an issue.

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8:40 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Veteran Educators Dole Out Advice for First-Year Teachers

Veteran teachers at Maynard Jackson High School gear up for a new school year.
Credit Martha Dalton / WABE

Some metro Atlanta students will head back to school this week. Cobb and Gwinnett Counties and the Atlanta Public Schools all resume classes. Teachers, though, have already been working, planning for their students’ arrival. Some of those teachers are new on the job.  

WABE’s Martha Dalton spoke with veteran teachers at Maynard Jackson High School in APS to see what advice they have for first-year teachers. Here’s what they had to say.


WABE’s broadcast license is held by the Atlanta Board of Education.

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4:32 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Solution Still Unclear As Atlanta City Council And APS Discuss BeltLine Contract Dispute

Members of the Atlanta City Council and APS board met Tuesday to discuss the contract dispute over BeltLine debt.

A joint meeting Tuesday between the Atlanta City Council and board members of Atlanta Public Schools ended with both sides acknowledging the need to solve a contract dispute over Atlanta BeltLine debt.

The solution, however, remains unclear.

APS says it’s due millions for giving up a portion of its property tax money for the BeltLine, but the city disputes the school system's figures. 

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5:15 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Council Holds First Briefing on Beltline Contract Dispute

Beltline CEO Paul Morris and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

The Atlanta City Council Monday held its first formal briefing on the ongoing contract dispute over Atlanta Beltline funding. 

Speaking to officials from the Beltline, Atlanta Public Schools, and the mayor's office, Council President Caesar Mitchell reiterated his call for greater Council involvement.

"Just assume that we need to understand very clearly what the game plan is to move this conversation to a successful conclusion," said Mitchell.

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6:09 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Ceasar Mitchell Calls For Greater Council Involvement In Beltline Contract Dispute

Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.

Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell Wednesday called for a “cooling down” period between Atlanta city government and Atlanta Public Schools.

The two sides are in a contract dispute over who’s on the hook for more than a $160 million in payments for the Atlanta Beltline.

In a rare press conference at his City Hall office, Mitchell said the stakes for both the Beltline and APS are too high to allow the issue to go unresolved.

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7:48 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

Reed Slams APS For Lawsuit Threat Involving Beltline Debt

Outgoing APS chief Erroll Davis, left, and Mayor Kasim Reed.
Credit & City of Atlanta

A contract dispute between Atlanta city government and Atlanta Public Schools is getting heated and threatens to slow the progress of the Atlanta BeltLine.  

At a June 11th BeltLine board meeting, Mayor Kasim Reed had strong words for outgoing APS chief Erroll Davis, who wasn’t in attendance.

"Nobody is going to negotiate at the end of a gun so if you’re going to take hostages you better be prepared to shoot the hostages," said Reed.

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4:50 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

APS Bus Drivers Still Waiting For Pay Fix

Credit Nick Nesmith/for WABE

Some Atlanta Public Schools bus drivers say they’re still waiting for paychecks from APS that are either short or late.

About a dozen drivers opted Monday to take their complaints to the school system’s downtown headquarters, but when they showed up to request a meeting with officials from payroll, security denied them entry.

The drivers were told a human resources representative was headed to the lobby to speak with them, but after waiting for a half hour, they grew frustrated, breaking into cheers of “fed up and we’ve had enough.”

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Atlanta Public Schools
5:00 am
Thu May 15, 2014

APS Could Create Agreement Between Charter and Traditional Schools

APS Charter School Task Force discusses developing an agreement between APS schools
Chris Ferguson/WABE

The Atlanta Public School Board could soon vote on whether to develop a compact between traditional and charter schools in the district. The recommendation comes from a charter school task force for the board, which met Wednesday.

Task force members say the compact will allow the district to help bridge the divide between charter and traditional schools.  School Board member Byron Amos chairs the task force.

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Atlanta Public Schools
6:35 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Atlanta School Chief Ready To Focus on Future, Not the Past

APS superintendent, Dr. Meria Carstarphen at Atlanta Press Club luncheon sponsored by Communities in Schools, an organization that works to prevent students from dropping out.
Credit Rose Scott / WABE

  The newly hired superintendent of the Atlanta Public Schools says transition won’t be easy as APS tries to move on from the cheating scandal.

Speaking during at Atlanta Press Club luncheon, Dr. Meria Carstarphen today gave a glimpse into her vision for the district.  

WABE’s Rose Scott has more.

Standing before the APS board, business and philanthropic leaders and educational partners, Dr. Carstarphen says APS will undergo a culture change.

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