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DCSD and CDE reach agreement, collaborate on improvements to seat time regulations

DENVER - Highly productive discussions between the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) and the Douglas County School District have resulted in both an agreement regarding a dispute over some of District students’ seat time calculations, as well as improvements in the guidance that will help other districts avoid similar issues in the future.

As you may remember, last year CDE sought to pull back $4.2 million because they felt that some of our full-time students did not meet the State’s requirements to receive full-time funding in both fiscal years 2012-13 as well as 2013-14.

The audit conducted by CDE reported that 1,335 DCSD students did not meet the state’s seat time requirements, necessary to be considered full-time during the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. While 1,250* (94 percent) of the students (now graduates) in question were scheduled and attended school full-time, CDE objected to the adequacy of the District’s documentation. This is no way affects diplomas earned by DCSD graduates.

*DCSD did not dispute the remainder of the students (115) captured in the audit that were far under the required time, nor did it dispute a finding regarding DCSD’s transportation reimbursement claim, which was overstated.

LEARN MORE: Rest of the Story: CDE Audit and UPDATE: Colorado Department of Education Audit

Over the past several months, District leadership has met with new Colorado Commissioner of Education Richard Crandall, presenting him with information from the affected schools and answering his questions.

Using his statutory authority to exercise discretion over audit findings, CDE Commissioner Rich Crandall has reduced the amount DCSD will pay back to the state from $4.2 million (plus $342,882 for the transportation route mile audit) to $2.03 million.

READ MORE:  Rest of the Story: CDE and DCSD Reach Settlement on Enrollment Audit

“I would like to thank Commissioner Crandall for his thoughtful consideration of our position and the facts in the case. Instead of only looking at the regulations and the findings of the audit, Commissioner Crandall worked with us over the past several months to gain an understanding of the situation and our good faith efforts to meet the state’s regulations,” said DCSD Assistant Superintendent, Secondary Education Superintendent Dr. Steven Cook.

DCSD budgets contingency funds every year allowing the District to cover unexpected expenditures – like this student enrollment refund – without impacting schools or its mission of educating students. The Board of Education approved the expenditure, during its April 19 public meeting.

It is not a fine or a fee -- it is only a refund. It was part of the regular student count audit and transportation route mile audit of Colorado school districts go through every year.

Additionally, Commissioner Crandall and his team have worked closely with DCSD staff to provide and communicate additional clarity regarding the student-time requirements and expectations. Based on this guidance, DCSD schools have already adopted new practices to avoid student count issues in the future.

April 22, 2016 | By rmbarber | Category:

District News

graduates standing in line outside, smiling

DOUGLAS COUNTY – Graduation rates in the Douglas County School District (DCSD) continue to climb. Data released today by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) shows the on-time, four-year graduation rate is now 90.4 percent.

DCSD students also made an impressive showing at graduation. The class of 2017 earned more than $82 million in scholarships.

DCSD has one of the highest graduation rates in the Denver metro area. According to CDE, DCSD graduation rates have risen steadily from 81.9 percent in 2009 to 90.4 percent in 2017.

Five female students standing on stage smiling and laughing at the awards ceremony

The top two-percent of female athletes in Douglas County School District (DCSD) were honored at the annual Girls and Women in Sports Luncheon last week at Chaparral High School. This year represented the 30th national celebration of Girls and Women in Sports Day, created to encourage and promote the participation of girls in athletics. The girls who were honored were selected by their school’s coaches, athletic directors and principals for their outstanding achievements.

Superintendent Search text based logo

Working through the recent winter break, the Douglas County School District Board of Education has kicked off its search for DCSD’s next permanent superintendent. Following a thorough vetting of potential search firms, Ray & Associates (no relation to Board Director David Ray) has been hired to conduct the national search. The cost of the firm, excluding travel expenses, is $40,000. The money will come from the school board's budget, which is used for costs such as legal expenses and conferences.