Recently the Colorado Department of Education found that several Douglas County students, during the 2012-2013 school year, did not spend enough time in the classroom to attain legal graduation status. As a result, the CDE is proposing to cut funds, withholding $4.2 million from the district.
On June 23, the CDE made an announcement that the decision was made because of objections to the district’s adequacy when documenting classroom minutes – for select high school students – during the years in question. It was noted that there were graduates who fell short of their full-time schedules; some by only a few seconds a day.
“Our District completely rejects the Department’s position as arbitrary, capricious and not the result of reasoned agency decision-making,” DCSD Board of Education President Kevin Larsen and Vice President Doug Benevento stated in the June 25 letter to Robert Hammond, Colorado Commissioner of Education.
The CDE’s findings documented that students evaluated in the audit fell short of standard requirements, averaging 96.7% of the seat time required. By falling short, at slightly more than 3.0 percent, the undocumented minutes could to severely cost the district.
Holding $4.2 million will primarily affect the general fund; a fund that goes directly to supporting students in one of the lowest funded districts in the state. The appeal by DCSD will ask for ‘a significant reduction or complete waiver of the fine associated with this allegation.’
“We intend to pursue our remedies in the Colorado courts with all deliberate speed,” Larsen and Benevento concluded.