DENVER – The Adams 14 School District regained its accreditation three days after it had lost it for failing to submit a letter stating it would work with its management partner to improve the district’s poor academic performance.
The district’s accreditation was restored Thursday after signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and a joint letter with its management partner, MGT of America Consulting, confirming they’ll continue working together to help the struggling school district turn things around.
“We are pleased to return to a focus on students, teachers and families in Adams 14, now that the district and MGT have put aside their disputes and come back into compliance with the board’s order,” said Angelika Schroeder, state board chair. “Making substantial change in a district that has struggled for years will need everyone’s focus. Students, teachers and families in Adams 14 deserve nothing less.”
The dispute between the two parties started in August, when Adams 14 stopped working with MGT without seeking a change to the state board’s order from 2018, which required the district to be managed by an external entity “in an effort to produce dramatic improvement in the district that has had declining academic performance for a significant period of time,” according to a news release from the Colorado Department of Education.
The district had been disputing with MGT for months, until the conversation reached a boiling point in August. The district had hired an outside group to perform an independent evaluation of MGT’s work.
The district then alleged that it had paid the management group millions to cover the expenses of subcontractors, but then Adams14 paid the subcontractors separately for identical services.
A stop-work order was issued at that time and MGT staff were kicked out of Adams14 school buildings. It also stopped paying MGT.
In September, the Colorado State Board of Education held a meeting and directed the school district and management group to find a way to work together and sign a joint report as proof of that cooperation.
MGT and the district then began to negotiate over backpay, a $500,000 bonus and legal liabilities but could not come to an agreement by the Oct. 1 deadline set by the state board, which led to the district losing its accreditation.
No schools were shut down or defunded during the three-day accreditation loss, the state department of education said in the release.
"Turning around a school district is extremely difficult and needs everyone working together with a shared purpose -- and that is to make dramatic improvements for the children of Adams 14,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “We can’t do this work without everyone on board and everyone working for the same goal. I appreciate that the district and MGT will resume this important work.”