Adams School District 14 Files Lawsuit for Judicial Review, Stays State Board’s Reorganization Decision

Adams County School District 14 is fighting back after the Colorado State Board of Education voted in May to reorganize the district. In a court complaint filed Tuesday, the district said the state board’s order caused the district “substantial and irreparable harm.”

“Never in the history of Colorado has the state board used its ‘general oversight’ authority to direct a constitutionally created public school district with local supervisory powers derived from the Constitution to reorganize and to disband,” the district wrote in the complaint. “As a direct result of the order, a large number of teachers and staff have resigned from Adams 14, Adams 14 has suffered a bond rating downgrade, students have left or will leave the district, and the order interferes with a collective bargaining agreement between members of Adams 14 and SD14CTA.”

In the complaint, Adams 14 asked the court to review the state’s decision and stay the order until the judicial review is complete. Adams 14 also asked the court to stop the reorganization from happening.

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In May, state board members voted four to three to revamp the district, citing nine years of poor student test scores.

Adams 14 had been in hot water with the state since he fired his private management company, MGT Consulting. The state had required Adams 14 to work with MGT in 2018 due to poor student performance.

Adams 14 fired MGT in January, saying the company failed to deliver on promises and wasted district tax money. MGT says this has improved student graduation rates and reduced dropout rates. CBS4 Investigates reported that Adams 14 isn’t the only Denver metro-area educational institution to have had issues with MGT in recent years.

In Tuesday’s complaint, Adams 14 alleged that the state board was unfair and biased in its decision to reorganize the district, saying the state board “didn’t (ed) consider poverty, l ethnicity, language barriers and the high mobility of less well-off students.

Adams 14 also alleged in the complaint that he was given no right to appeal the reorganization decision before it was finalized in late May, and called the state board’s action “an abuse. or manifestly unwarranted exercise of discretion” and is “contrary to law”.

A state spokesperson sent CBS Colorado the following written statement regarding Tuesday’s complaint: “We have received notification of the lawsuit. We are not discussing pending legal matters. The State Board of Education has met its obligations to intervene in a district struggle as required by law. We look forward to exploring the district’s concerns with the court.”

The reorganization process could take up to a year, if completed.

Several school principals in the Denver metro area expressed their support for Adams 14with neighboring Mapleton School District expressing that it has no interest in absorbing schools from Adams 14 as a result of the reorganization.