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Carstarphen Out

Atlanta board votes, Austin ISD to select new interim Tuesday

By Richard Whittaker, 4:39PM, Mon. Apr. 14

Meria Carstarphen: One more step away from Austin, one step closer to Atlanta
Meria Carstarphen: One more step away from Austin, one step closer to Atlanta
Photo by John Anderson

One of the final components of Superintendent Meria Carstarphen's exit from Austin ISD is in place. Today, the board of education of Atlanta Public Schools formally voted to hire the current Austin ISD CEO.

The Atlanta board voted unanimously to approve the contract with Carstarphen. The new job comes with a substantial pay raise: $375,000 plus $1,200 auto allowance and $800 expenses per month, compared to her $283,000 AISD base salary.

Carstarphen's departure became public knowledge earlier this month when she announced, to the surprise of the AISD board, that she was the sole finalist for the Atlanta post.

AISD Board President Vince Torres issued a statement congratulating Carstarphen on her new job, adding that the board "also would like to thank Dr. Carstarphen for her five years of leadership and service to AISD to move our district forward-from achieving an all-time high graduation rate to maximizing dwindling resources wisely to ensure Austin schools offer all of our students the quality education they deserve to prepare for college, career and life."

The next task for AISD comes in three portions: first, accepting Carstarphen's resignation; second, selecting an interim superintendent; and third, picking a permanent replacement. The first and second decisions will take place at a special board meeting, scheduled for 7pm tomorrow, April 15, at the Carruth Administration Center, 1111 West Sixth. Prime internal candidates include Chief Schools Officer Paul Cruz, Chief Academic Officer Pauline Dow, Assoc­iate Superintendent of High Schools Edmund Oropez, and Carstarphen's chief of staff and former AISD general counsel Mel Waxler. However, the board has not ruled out (or ruled in) bringing in a retired superintendent from another district to cover her absence. They can't afford any delay: Carstarphen has made it clear to AISD trustees that she plans to be gone by the end of the month.

After that, the board will start the heavy lifting on the permanent replacement. That begins with another agenda item at Tuesday's meeting, will consideration of a request for proposals from search firms.

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