COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Board of Education voted to affirm to lift the stay on the removal of the Adams14 School District’s accreditation, meaning it has been removed effective immediately. The board also voted to give Adams14 until Thursday to come to an agreement with MGT, its private management company, in order to regain its accreditation.
The decision comes following a 6-1 vote during a special meeting on Monday.
The Colorado Department of Education Commissioner Katy Anthes says the accreditation removal does not have any immediate impact on the structure of schools or day-to-day activities for students.
“Students should continue to go to school and focus on their studies,” Anthes said.
Following Monday’s vote, Adams14 has until Thursday to reach an agreement with MGT, or risk permanent accreditation removal, which could mean the board would direct other actions against Adams14, according to state education officials.
Losing accreditation does not affect state or federal funding for the district.
The vote comes following a 2018 state board decision to have a private management company run Adams14, due to poor student performance, instead of stripping the district of its accreditation then.
This summer, Adams14 said it had serious concerns with MGT’s performance and costs. At one point, the district even locked out the private company from going to work in the district’s schools. Adams14 had until Friday to submit a plan to the state to cooperate with MGT, but because it failed to do so, it lost its accreditation.
Board officials who have been monitoring the situation at Adams14 said some coordinated work has been occurring since that time, but some trainings and meetings haven’t been restored.
Board members who voted in favor of the accreditation removal said this should be a path forward to give students a better chance to do good work.
“We want to be cheerleading for the district,” said board member Debora Scheffel.
Another board member said the move is designed to help the management company and Adams14 come to an agreement.
“It’s time for the adults to work together,” said board member Angelika Schroeder.
Board member Steve Durham said he believes Adams14’s violation of the 2018 order was “deliberate,” and the district wasted board resources by doing so.
“Their misbehavior does not deserve to be rewarded,” said Durham.
The only board member who voted against the measure was Rebecca McClellan, who had concerns about the costs the management company was charging the district, saying Adams14 has an obligation to the taxpayers of its district.
Other board members conceded there were concerns about costs, but ultimately, student performance is what’s most important.
“I agree that the vendor tried to pull a fast one on the district,” said Schroeder, who then said that still didn’t give Adams14 the right to take away resources from students.
Adams14 has not immediately responded to requests for comments regarding Monday’s decision.
Eric Parish, Executive Vice President for MGT, provided the following written statement to CBS4: “We appreciate how thoughtfully the State Board considered the ongoing situation in Adams 14, and we are hopeful that the additional time can lead to an agreement this week with the school district. We strongly agree with the State Board members that the focus needs to be on students’ needs.”