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Columnist Calls for APS-Beltline Dispute to End Yesterday

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Veteran Atlanta reporter and columnist Maria Saporta has compiled a strongly worded reminder this week that the dispute between the City of Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools over Beltline funding is approaching its third year, and that "no world-class city can have a true renaissance without healthy public schools," being that it's "beyond ridiculous to have a city government at odds with its public school system." Saporta points to a recent "State of the District" rally held at the Old Fourth Ward's David T. Howard School — shuttered since 1976, but slated to be renovated into a middle school — as a source of symbolic meaning; at the rally, impassioned APS Superintendent Meria Carstarphen said 26 low-performing schools are at risk of being taken over by the state (and ostensibly could use a little cash), while around the corner, the Beltline's Eastside Trail is a major source of the city's future-focused energy. So it's a slippery slope, but Saporta insists that time is of the essence: "If an agreement is not reached by the end of the year, the city and the Beltline will owe APS yet another multi-million dollar payment — making a solution even harder to negotiate."