Atlanta Public Schools under hiring freeze - CBS46 News

Atlanta Public Schools under hiring freeze

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Atlanta Public Schools is under a hiring and spending freeze.

Erroll B. Davis Jr. sent a letter out Thursday instituting the change to ensure Dr. Meria Carstarphen has flexibility to make organizational changes as she assumes leadership of APS.

The freeze excludes hiring for positions that directly impact student engagement such as teachers, principals and operational positions such as bus drivers, food service workers and custodians.

"I appreciate that the hiring freeze may pose a challenge for some departments; however, at this critical juncture, it is important that all employees understand that they will be expected to take on additional work assignments, if necessary, to compensate for unfilled positions," said Davis in the letter. "While the situation is not ideal, it is necessary at this time."

In addition, Davis instituted a freeze on all new purchases of items over $1,000. 

"It is targeted to the big ticket items, so we're not stopping the day-to-day business of the district," Chief Financial Officer Chuck Burbridge told CBS46 News.

Burbridge said giving Carstarphen flexibility is crucial as she takes over.

"It's really important that she has an opportunity to help shape how the district's going to move forward," said Burbridge.

The spending and hiring freeze comes as more principals resign their positions. APS reported so far, 20 have said they will not return.

They include the principal of North Atlanta High School. Gene Taylor resigned last fall, saying administrators were micro managing his leadership. The district convinced him to return, but he recently announced he is leaving for good.

"I'm very sad about it," said Sara Kibler, who has a son at the school. "We've loved Gene Taylor. We have amazing principals.  We have amazing faculty up here."

Kibler and other parents acknowledged the district is in a state of upheaval, but they are remaining upbeat.

"I feel like the press is always looking for problems in APS, and I think they love to find ugly stories," said Kibler. "I think there is so much good going on that is being missed."  

Carstarphen officially begins her job as superintendent on July 7.

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