A state senator will be the newest member of the Adams 14 school board.
Sen. Dominick Moreno, a graduate of the district, was appointed Monday night on a 3-to-1 vote to fill a vacancy on the district’s school board.
“He has always, since I have known him, cared about this community,” said board member David Rolla, who recalled knowing Moreno since grade school.
Moreno will continue to serve in his position in the state legislature.
The vacancy on the five-member board was created last month, when the then-president, Timio Archuleta, resigned with more than a year left on his term.
Colorado law says when a vacancy is created, school board must appoint a new board member to serve out the remainder of the term.
In this case, Moreno will serve until the next election for that seat in November 2019.
The five member board will see the continued rollout of the district’s improvement efforts as it tries to avoid further state intervention.
Prior to Monday’s vote, the board interviewed four candidates including Joseph Dreiling, a former board member; Angela Vizzi; Andrew LaCrue; and Moreno. One woman, Cynthia Meyers, withdrew her application just as her interview was to begin. Candidate, Vizzi, a district parent and member of the district’s accountability committee, told the board she didn’t think she had been a registered voter for the last 12 months, which would make her ineligible for the position.
The board provided each candidate with eight general questions — each board member picked two from a predetermined list — about the reason the candidates wanted to serve on the board and what they saw as their role with relation to the superintendent. Board members and the public were barred from asking other questions during the interviews.
Moreno said during his interview that he was not coming to the board to spy for the state Department of Education, which is evaluating whether or not the district is improving. Nor, he added, was he applying for the seat because the district needs rescuing.
“I’m here because I think I have something to contribute,” Moreno said. “I got a good education in college and I came home. Education is the single most important issue in my life.”
The 7,500-student district has struggled in the past year. The state required the district to make significant improvement in 2017-18, but Adams 14 appears to be falling short of expectations..
Many community members and parents have protested district initiatives this year, including cancelling parent-teacher conferences, (which will be restored by fall), and postponing the roll out of a biliteracy program for elementary school students.
Rolla, in nominating Moreno, said the board has been accused of not communicating well, and said he thought Moreno would help improve those relationships with the community.
Board member Harvest Thomas was the one vote against Moreno’s appointment. He did not discuss his reason for his vote.
If the state’s new ratings this fall fail to show sufficient academic progress, the State Board of Education may direct additional or different actions to turn the district around.