COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Following the loss of its accreditation this week, the Adams County School District 14 says it “will continue to operate in a good faith partnership with its external management partner: Adams 14 Schools Succeed / MGT Consulting, LLC.” On Monday, the Colorado State Board of Education ordered Adams 14 to come to an agreement with MGT by Thursday, or risk permanent accreditation removal.
“As always, Adams County School District 14 intends to act in the best interests of its students, staff, families, and the Commerce City community,” a school district spokesperson said in a statement to CBS4. “Adams County School District 14 anticipates no disruption to the accreditation of its schools and will adhere to all deadlines specified by SBE.”
The school district’s announcement to continue the partnership comes following a more than two-year controversy. In 2018, the state board ordered Adams 14 to have a private management company run the district, due to consistent poor student performance, instead of stripping the district of its accreditation at that time.
This summer, Adams 14 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, but later allowed staff to return, according to remarks at Monday’s state school board meeting.
Adams 14 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 Adams 14 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.
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 Adams 14 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 Adams 14 the right to take away resources from students.
In its statement to CBS4, the school district responded to those remarks.
“As noted by multiple (state board of education) members in its October 4, 2021 proceedings, Adams County School District 14 administration and local school board members have consistently sought to allow A14SS/MGT full access to school and district operations since SBE’s decision of September 10, 2021 to ensure their ability to fulfill their mandated duties under its order,” an Adams 14 spokesperson said in the statement to CBS4. “Adams County School District 14 greatly appreciates the recognition of multiple SBE members of both the good faith efforts made by the district to fulfill its obligations under the partnership and the challenges it has faced in doing so.”
The statement went on to say the district plans to communicate directly with its constituents “regarding these recent events,” and look forward to engaging with MGT stakeholders “in advancing the interests of the district’s schools and students.”
Following Monday’s state board of education meeting, 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.”