Private company wasted $495,000 in taxpayer money on ‘duplicate services,’ says Adams 14 Schools – CBS Denver


COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Adams County School District 14 released a long-awaited forensic audit Thursday that they say shows the misuse of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. The district says its state-mandated private management company – MGT Consulting – spent $495,486.18 on services the company was supposed to provide itself.

(credit: CBS)

“(MGT) was already receiving a significant amount of money to provide these services, but they would go out and hire another group to provide these services at significant cost to the district,” Adams 14 attorney Joe Salazar said. , in a press release. conference Thursday.

Read the full audit by clicking here.

Adams 14 officials met Thursday to explain the audit and why they say it was important enough for the district to fire MGT, contrary to a state order requiring MGT to run the district.

In 2018, the Colorado State Board of Education required Adams 14 to have a private manager after years of poor student performance. For more, check out this history of Adams 14 issues with the state.

After three years of MGT running the district, Adams 14 called for a review of MGT’s services and says school officials found they weren’t getting what they paid for.

“This report represents the third independent assessment that has shown that promises made by our former external managing partner have not been delivered,” said Dr. Robert Lundin, director of communications at Adams 14.

Even though Adams 14 school board members approved many of the expenditures in the audit, board members said Thursday that MGT had kept them in the dark about the rationale behind most of the contracts. .

(credit: CBS)

“One of the big ones I’ll highlight is HR consulting, it was almost $100,000 in a year, we had no idea,” said Renee Lovato, a member of Adams School Board 14.

Adams 14 says the Adams County prosecutor investigated the audit and found no evidence of criminal actions.

MGT provided the following written statement on Thursday:

“Today’s press conference is another example of the Adams 14 Board of Education making a lot of noise about nothing,” said Eric Parish, executive vice president of MGT. “There is nothing here, as the district attorney’s office itself said, and the auditors would have come to a similar conclusion if they had actually interviewed someone from the accounting or finance departments of the district or someone from MGT.

The district’s continued desire to create artificial distractions raises real questions about their interest and ability to lead the kind of academic improvements MGT has accomplished during its tenure as Premier Partner.

Now that MGT has been laid off, Adams 14 superintendent Dr. Karla Loría says she is making student performance her number one priority.

“It’s not just one person, but a whole group of individuals focused on what’s best for children,” she said.

But because Adams 14 fired MGT, the district is now in hot water with the state.

The State Board of Education ordered an independent review of the district, and those results will be released in April. That’s when the state could decide to start more charter schools, find a new management company, or disband the district altogether.

(credit: CBS)

Colorado Department of Education Commissioner Katy Anthes released the following statement Thursday regarding the audit and the future of Adams 14:

“The forensic audit does not appear to provide conclusive evidence. It simply orders the District to review its contracts. Ultimately, this is a contract dispute between the District and MGT. It is not something within the jurisdiction of the CDE or the Council of State.

“We continue to focus on the goal of improving student academic outcomes. The board will hold a hearing in April and is legally bound under the Accountability Act to take action to improve student achievement. We are awaiting input from the state’s independent review board and have also invited the district to make a submission at the April hearing. »

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