'We Do Not Take This Lightly,' School Board President SaysBy Kati Weis

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – At its school board meeting on Tuesday night, the Adams 14 School Board voted unanimously to end the contract with its private management company, Adams 14 Schools Succeed / MGT Consulting, LLC. The vote comes after an independent audit identified concerns MGT mismanaged school funds and did not properly benefit students.

The results of that audit are now being investigated criminally by the Adams County District Attorney, according to school officials. Adams 14 is not yet releasing the audit due to the criminal investigation.

In a letter from the school district to MGT, sent Tuesday and obtained by CBS4, the school board’s attorney, Joseph Salazar wrote, “this termination is effectuated for good cause as (MGT) consistently fails to abide by the terms of the Agreement, and has engaged in conduct resulting in a criminal investigation being conducted by the Adams County District Attorney’s office.”

Salazar went on to write the board has tried to resolve “numerous” issues with MGT, but the relationship has become “unsustainable.”

The termination will be effective on April 11, 90 days following Tuesday night’s vote.

Adams 14 board members expressed in Tuesday night’s meeting the decision is tough, but comes after careful consideration.

“We do not take this lightly,” said Board President Ramona Lewis. “We’ve tried to make the effort to see this through.”

Board Member James Amador said before the vote, “it seems like we’ve had a very rough relationship that has not been focusing on our kids.”

Board Secretary Maria Zubia introduced the motion to terminate. Zubia explained she was supportive of MGT’s help in the beginning, but her opinion has changed over the last two years.

“(When we say) keeping kids at the forefront, we mean it,” Zubia said.

The school board’s decision 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.

Tuesday night, Lewis said the district does not intend to work on its own, but is instead already looking for a new private management company to replace MGT that she hopes will better serve students.

“We are fiscal stewards for the district,” Lewis said. “We very carefully look at every dollar… and we want to make sure the bulk of that is put into our students and our teaching staff.”

MGT issued the following statement Wednesday, Jan. 12, following the original publication of this article on Jan. 11:

“The State Board of Education made clear today it’s frustrated by local leaders’ attempts to stifle progress by creating adult-centered drama, and we strongly agree. The surprising action by the local school board to terminate our contract violates the State’s order — again. We welcome an independent review of what has played out in Adams 14 since the new superintendent arrived. We are confident the independent review will show our steadfast focus on students and families while the local board and new superintendent continue to exacerbate a power struggle of their own making.” – Andre Wright, Manager, Adams 14

Kati Weis