Outgoing APS superintendent to advise school board on Beltline debt

After his retirement, Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis will continue to work for the Atlanta school district, serving as an advisor to the Atlanta Board of Education in discussions of the money the city of Atlanta owes the school district in connection with the Beltline project.

Atlanta school board Chairman Courtney English announced Davis’ appointment today.

Davis, who will be replaced by incoming superintendent Meria Carstarphen on July 7, will work with the board exclusively on the Beltline dispute, English said.

He’ll be paid $1 for his services.

At issue is millions the Beltline owes APS because of a 2005 deal creating a special taxing district to fund the greenspace project.

To pay for parks, trails, transit and development, the Beltline uses a portion of property tax revenue that would have gone to Fulton County and APS. In exchange, city officials agreed to make fixed payments from the Beltline’s tax allocation district, or TAD, to the school system and Fulton County that rise over time, peaking at $16 million a year and totaling $162 million.

The long-term goal is that after the Beltline’s 22-mile loop is complete by 2030, those payments will stop and APS will reap the rewards of better communities and higher property tax revenue.

But the Beltline's revenue projections were decimated by the recession, and now it's unable to meet the terms of its deal. It's currently behind on a $6.75 million payment that was originally scheduled to be paid earlier this year.

English said the board wants to resolve the Beltline issue as soon as possible.

“This need not be an issue that this board is encumbered with, that our new superintendent is encumbered with. We need to bring resolution to this issue as quickly as possible,” he said.