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Reorganization plan for Adams 14 called off, wasn't feasible, committee says

The state education commissioner said the district is out of compliance with a 2022 order because it no longer has a contract with an external management partner.
Credit: KUSA

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — The Adams 14 School District will remain independent and will not be absorbed into other nearby districts as was called for under a reorganization plan, however there are still concerns about the district's academic performance.

More than a year ago, on May 24, 2022, the State Board of Education entered an order directing the creation of a reorganization committee that would include Adams 14 School District, Mapleton School District, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, and Brighton School District 27J. 

That came after years of academic underperformance at the district. According to the order, Adams 14 acknowledged its status as “one of the lowest performing districts in the State of Colorado” and concluded “dramatic change” was needed. 

Under Colorado state law, there is a specific process for districts to consider re-drawing their boundaries – either through consolidation with other districts, annexation of certain areas into other districts, or dissolution of a district.

Last month the reorganization committee told the state the redrawing of boundaries was not feasible and asked to end the process.

On Aug. 31, Education Commissioner Susana Córdova accepted that recommendation. She outlined the reasons in a letter and explained that the surrounding districts were not willing to take on any portion of Adams 14.  In addition, she said it was "extremely unlikely" that the Adams 14 community would be willing to increase their tax burden because families are already stretched too thin. 

However, Córdova, noted that a lot of work still needs to be done related to turnaround efforts and said Adams 14 is currently out of compliance with a 2022 order requiring them to work with a partial manager to support the plan for academic improvement.

She said they had been working under a contract with TNTP since the fall of 2022 and saw "some positive gains." The state is paying $850,000 a year to support the contract. Córdova wrote that Adams 14 notified the state board that they were not renewing the contact with TNTP and that work with them had stopped. She wrote that turnaround work "requires consistency" and urged Adams 14 to renegotiate its contract.

"We are grateful to close this chapter on reorganization," she said. "However, we must work through these new challenges related to the district’s partial manager."

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