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Poll: APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen has strong voter support

At Promise

Atlanta Police Foundation's Dave Wilkinson with APS' Meria Carstarphen in August 2017 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

By Maria Saporta

An overwhelming percentage of voters with a child in the Atlanta Public Schools (75 percent ) support extending Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s contract beyond June 30, 2020, according to a new poll by Landmark Communications Inc.

Only 21 percent of those voters opposed an extension.

At Promise

Atlanta Police Foundation’s Dave Wilkinson with APS’ Meria Carstarphen in August 2017 (Photo by Maria Saporta)

In a press release issued on Facebook Sunday afternoon, Landmark said a poll of 500 Atlanta voters (contacted on Oct. 3) showed strong support for Carstarphen among all Atlanta voters.

By a margin of 64 percent, the poll showed that Atlantans support extending Carstarphen’s contract. Only 18 percent opposed an extension, and 18 percent of voters said they were undecided.

The poll was taken after the Atlanta Board of Education met behind closed doors on Sept. 9 when they decided not to keep Carstarphen and just let her existing contract run out. The board apparently has begun searching for a successor.

According to the poll, there was no significant difference among whites and blacks in support of extending Carstarphen’s contract.

African-American voters said they support the extension by a 66 percent to 16 percent margin, while white voters support the extension by a 65 percent to 17 percent margin.

Also, a large majority of voters viewed Carstarphen’s performance favorably. By a 63 percent to 12 percent margin, voters said they have a favorable view of her job performance.

Mark Rountree of Landmark Communications

Landmark conducted and funded the poll on its own. The margin of error of the poll is 4.1 percent. Mark Rountree, president of Landmark Communications, said cross tabs of the poll are available upon request.

Carstarphen also has received high profile support from U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Atlanta), former Atlanta mayors Shirley Franklin and Andrew Young as well as former Gov. Roy Barnes among others. So far, the school board has not been swayed to change its mind despite strong community support for Carstarphen.

In previous public comments, Carstarphen has said she would like to remain as Atlanta’s school superintendent because the job of improving student outcomes is not done.

Carstarphen has been superintendent of APS since 2014 a couple of years after Atlanta’s public schools suffered an extensive blow because of a widespread test cheating scandal. Student outcomes have improved by almost every measure during her tenure.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.


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  1. urban gardener October 8, 2019 11:05 am

    ABOE done lost their way
    Siding with the teachers’ union over charter schools as a reason is nonsense in this day and age
    Corruption DA’s mentioning the Gulch as a reason in other message boards is horrifying that the Mayor’s office is back to trying to control the Superintendent’s office (and likely via ABOE again?)
    Rumors of petty vindictiveness and then gate-crashing Carstarphen’s press conference are just beyond the pale

    Back to the bad old days that most these jackwagons were voted in to fix

    Time to vote out ABOEReport

  2. Atlgal October 8, 2019 11:50 am

    I’m a little confused by the purpose of this poll. She’s not an elected official and she’d not running for public office, so what’s the point? I know Roundtree took this on at his own expense, but why? Is this intended to instigate some public outcry? Force the board to reinstate her contract? What it says to me is the board did a bad job of explaining their decision making process and why they took the action they did.Report

  3. George Wilson October 8, 2019 12:30 pm

    Democracy is hard work.Society’s “elites”,experts,and public figures who help those around them navigate the heavy responsibilities that come with self-rule-have increasingly been sidelined,citizens have proved ill equipped cognitively and emotionally to run a well -functioning democracy.As a consequence,you get Trump, poorly functional school boards and other elected officials that all become beholding to “dark money” and causing them to cater to special interests.Report

  4. Joe Adams October 9, 2019 4:06 pm

    I’d much rather terminate the contract of my board member than the superintendent. This poll reflects the reality for the board — extend the superintendent’s contract or voters are going to be interested to see who runs against you when you’re up for re-election.Report

  5. Christopher Johnston October 10, 2019 3:31 pm

    City of Atlanta residents have the school board they deserve: the one they elected. In the future, voters should remember that elections have consequences.Report


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