The scoop on Tuesday, March 8: 5 things to know this morning

Atlanta school superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks at a community meeting last month. KENT D. JOHNSON/ kdjohnson@ajc.com

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Atlanta school superintendent Meria Carstarphen speaks at a community meeting last month. KENT D. JOHNSON/ kdjohnson@ajc.com

The Atlanta school board approved a plan Monday that will see five schools managed by charter school groups. It's part of superintendent Meria Carstarphen's plan to turn around some of the city's worst schools. The vote makes Atlanta Public Schools the first in Georgia to hire charter school groups to run local public schools, charter advocates say. The plan approved also closes three other schools, including some that are succeeding by Atlanta standards. Students in the closed schools would be moved to two existing schools and a new school.Few districts nationally have brought in charter operators under similar arrangements. Their results have been, at best, mixed. And the groups Atlanta is hiring have little experience turning around schools as poor and troubled as Atlanta's. Read more. 

2. Fiery deaths for 6 inside a 'House of Hope.'

Ernest Eberhardt had five overnight guests when fire erupted in his small Andrews Street home, causing the roof to collapse and sending flames 30 feet into the air. None of the six people insie the home made it out alive. One by one, the bodies of two women and four men were pulled out of the home Monday morning by Fulton County medical examiners. The victims' names were not publicly released Monday, but those in the close-knit neighborhood knew without being told. Throughout the day, neighbors stood outside staring at the charred remains of where a three-bedroom house had stood since 1950. Eberhardt was described as never hesitating to help his northwest Atlanta nieghbors or welcome others into his "House of Hope." Read more. 

3. How have rules changes impacted college basketball? 

The rules changes that college basketball's overlords instituted to create a more free-flowing game seem to have taken their effect. At least, that's the belief held by N.C. State forward BeeJay Anya, who sees opponents go batty trying to defend slippery Wolfpack point guard Anthony "Cat" Barber without drawing a whistle. With rules promoting freedom of movement for offensive players, those hand checks are fouls. As a result, Barber has taken 261 free throws this season, sixth-most in the country through Sunday's games and an average of 8.4 per game. Read more. 

4. DeKalb approves school redistricting plan. 

About 1,600 students will be shuffled to new schools to alleviate overcrowding in the Cross Keys cluster of schools, DeKalb County Schools officials said Monday. Joshua Williams, the district's chief operations officer, said long-term plans call for building two new elementary schools, among other things, for the area. Initial plans called for establishing third- and fourth-grade academies and shipping students to other schools in the cluster that are not at capacity. The public had more say as recently as February, when some people worried that part of the redistricting plan would further overcrowd other schools. Read more. 

5. City, Hawks discussing big mixed-use project at Philips Arena. 

The Atlanta Hawks are in discussions to redevelop the area surrounding Philips Arena into a mixed-use entertainment district, multiple people with knowledge of the negotiations told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The plan, which would involve investments of hundreds of millions of dollars, could rank among the largest commercial redevelopments conceived for downtown Atlanta in a generation, according to several people who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. The discussions are fluid and coincide with negotiations with the city over public support for a major Philips Arena renovation, which was first reported by the AJC in October. But the Hawks and its partners would steer private development around the arena. Read more.