Donors for APS chief’s transition include Coca-Cola, Bank of America

Donors to APS superintendent transition fund

• AGL Resources: $25,000

• Bank of America: $25,000

• Delta Air Lines: $25,000

• Emory Healthcare: $10,000

• Georgia-Pacific: $15,000

• Georgia Power: $25,000

• Invesco: $25,000

• SunTrust: $25,000

• The Coca-Cola Company: $25,000

The costs of incoming superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s preparation to take charge of the Atlanta Public Schools are largely being paid by a group of nine major regional and national corporations.

To date, nine donors have contributed a total of $200,000. The donors are AGL Resources, Bank of America, Delta Air Lines, Emory Healthcare, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power Company, Invesco, Suntrust and the Coca-Cola Company. Amounts contributed ranged from $10,000-$25,000.

The money is being used to pay Carstarphen and her newly hired staff as they prepare to assume leadership of the district.

Carstarphen was hired in April, but won’t officially become APS superintendent until July 7. But soon after her hiring, Carstarphen formed a “transition team” to help her prepare for the job. Since April, Carstarphen has interviewed principals, recruited her picks for top APS positions, and met with parents and Atlanta Public Schools administrators.

Board chairman Courtney English said soliciting outside contributions to fund that work would prevent draining money from the district’s general budget for next school year — and allow the district to spend more of that money on students.

English asked Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta Committee for Progress, a roundtable of local CEOs and other powerful business and civic leaders, to help raise the money, English said. Carstarphen was not involved in asking for money.

“That degree of separation adds a level of cover that prevents any impropriety or undue influence being exerted over the superintendent,” English said.

The donations are being managed by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, an organization that supports philanthropic work in the region, before being distributed to Carstarphen and her team. In addition to the $200,000 raised recently, $147,000 previously raised to support the Atlanta schools is also being used to fund the superintendent transition. English says the goal is to raise a total of $400,000.

So far, the foundation has paid about $260,000 to Carstarphen and her team.