Adams 14 loses state accreditation, must partner for reorganization

Steve Smith
ssmith@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 5/11/22

DENVER -- The Adams 14 School District will reorganine, thanks to a pair of actions from the state board of education May 10.

The board removed the district's accreditation and ordered it to …

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Adams 14 loses state accreditation, must partner for reorganization

Posted

DENVER -- The Adams 14 School District will have to reorganize, thanks to a pair of actions from the state board of education May 10.

The board removed the district's accreditation and ordered it to partner with TNTP (once known as the New Teacher Project) as the reorganization process begins.

TNTP is an organization that tries to line up effective teachers for poor and minority students. The district has recorded low test scores for several years, to the point that the state had to intervene.

A statement from the school district called the action "unexpected and capricious" and said it would challenge the decision "across relevant avenues" in seeking a reversal.

Schools in the district remain open, and state and federal funding remain in place, according to the Adams 14 School District.

The district has been on the state’s academic watch list since 2010 because of the low test scores.  In April, the state board told the district to present a co-management plan.

In its May 10 statement, the district said it presented a proposed plan to the state. The district said, "none of the decisions made today (May 10) resulted in any positive contribution to the children of Adams 14."

"Despite the fact that Adams 14 closely followed the guidance of the state board and (Colorado Department of Education) officials to provide a detailed turnaround plan that met their expectations, the state board moved the goal posts and took the unexpected and capricious actions of voting to suspend district accreditation and explore potential district reorganization," the district said.

A press statement from the state board said reorganizing the district could take upwards of a year. The first step, according to the statement, is an organization planning committee with representatives from neighboring school districts, including Brighton 27J, Adams 12 Five Star Schools and the Mapleton School District.

Once formed, the committee will consider options and then present them to the community for feedback. The statement said voters in each of the affected districts get the chance to vote the plan up or down during an election.

As part of its May 10 rulings, the state board asked the state attorney general's office to prepare written orders to reflect the decision. 

The district received the two lowest ratings in the state district accountability system since the state enacted its Accountability Law in 2009. The state board said even though ratings have been on hold because of the pandemic, the district has been on an accountability clock since 2010. The statement said the board has to direct action to schools and districts that stay on that clock for five years in a row. One of the available options, the statement said, is a district reorganization process. 

Four years ago, the state approved a district proposal to turn over management of the district to an external partner for four years. In February, the district severed ties with that management firm, MGT Consulting.

After that decision,  the community and the Adams 14 school board asked the state to leave the district alone.

The school district said it would convene community meetings to understand the decision "and how they can play an important role in remedying this injustice." 

"All Adams 14 schools and the district as a whole continue to operate as usual," the school district added. "This district will continue to play a vital role in the lives of Commerce City students and families for decades to come."

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