DeKalb is not the only metro school district with a consequential decision pending today.
While the DeKalb school board will vote on a controversial five year plan that includes school closings and redistricting, the Atlanta Board of Education will take up superintendent Erroll B. Davis’ contract extension today,
And the stage is set for a close vote.
At a meeting last week, the nine-member APS board changed its policy, now requiring a super majority of seven votes to extend the school chief’s contract rather than a majority of five votes. At that Dec. 3 session, the board delayed a decision on Davis’ contract for a second time, reflective of the residual anger over his abrupt leadership changes at North Atlanta High School in October.
There are two petitions at Change.org, one for Davis and one against:
Erroll Davis is the best person to serve as interim superintendent. Davis has proven he is a non-political leader, capable of making tough decisions. Davis came to APS at a moment of chaos, following a decade of turmoil and educational neglect. He restored a significant measure of stability and trust, earning him the support of Atlanta’s mayor and many APS parents and teachers. Extending Davis’s contract provides stability that permits our children to learn and grow.
Please allow Superintendent Davis’ contract to expire without renewal, and move immediately to find a new Superintendent for Atlanta Public Schools to take over when Davis’ term ends this summer. Atlanta needs a superintendent who can communicate well, work effectively with school leaders, and rise above political maneuvering to provide the best education possible for our students.
For a sense of the public divide over Davis, here is an excerpt from Talk Up APS, which is a system-sponsored blog. Please note that this is not my account, but a report from the official APS blog of some parent comments made during the Dec. 3 board discussion of Davis’ future:
Cynthia Briscoe-Brown- I am here today to ask each of you to vote against extending interim Superintendent Davis’ contract. He lacks the leadership essential to this position. Every one of his stated reasons for “Bloody Friday” have been proven false. This superintendent has lost the confidence of a significant number of the community–he should not be allowed to continue. There are highly qualified individuals who would welcome the challenge of leading APS into the future.
Yvette Bolwaire, former NAHS parent: I come as I did last month in support of superintendent Davis. He has proven time and time again that he is not only willing but capable of tackling, SACS, redistricting and most recently North Atlanta High. It is his responsibility to do what is in the best interest of all students. I am in total support of his decision to restructure NAHS and how it was carried out. What has been characterized as Bloody Friday by some was seen as a long awaited glimmer of hope by those who have waited for years.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get School blog