The Montezuma-Cortez School District Re-1 received some good news on Thursday from the Colorado Department of Education.
Administrators, teachers, parents and the community were under the impression that the Re-1 had three years left on its five-year improvement plan that the department was mandating.
Re-1 Interim Superintendent Mary Rubadeau was informed that the district at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year will have four years, not three years under the states school improvement plan.
She said the pressure to improve the district is still there because the district still must improve or face losing its accreditation.
Five years is not a long amount of time. Now we have four years, Rubadeau said. Its a short time to make significant growth in the student population. We need to keep that sense of urgency.
She added that the news was nice, but it will not change what the district was already doing when it thought it only had three years left to improve the schools.
Rubadeau said when she was appointed the interim superintendent earlier this year she was informed that the Re-1 had three years left on its five-year improvement plan and had no reason to not believe this was correct because everyone in the district was under the same impression.
The Colorado Department of Education resetting the clock on the district is a good thing, she said. It gives everyone more time.
Rubadeau said the reason for the extension could have been the result of when the district was notified by the department about being placed on the five-year improvement plan.
She said since the district was notified in the middle of the year rather then the beginning, the department could have started the clock at the beginning of the next school year.
They come up with different rules, she said.
She also said she would not have done anything differently if she had known the Re-1 had another year to improve the district, and added the strategic plan and developing the framework of what needs to be done had to be done regardless of the amount of time the district had to improve.
She reiterated that being given four years to improve is obviously better than having three years to get to the same level.
Losing accreditation could result in numerous sanctions being levied against the district and its students.
Rubadeau said if a district is not accredited by the state, graduating students possibly would not be allowed to attend certain colleges or universities.
She also said districts in this situation probably would to have to meet with representatives from the CDE to discuss other ramifications.
Michael Maresh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org