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Students walk through the hall at Adams City High School Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 in Commerce City.

Students walk through the hall at Adams City High School Monday, Feb. 4, 2019 in Commerce City.

Michael Ciaglo/Special to the Denver Post

Five people certified to run for a spot on the Adams 14 school board, overseeing the district’s private management

Updated: The story has been updated with information about the candidates who were certified to get on the ballot.

Four of the five board seats in the Adams 14 school district are up for grabs this fall as the suburban district begins its first year under private management.

As of the deadline Friday, seven people submitted enough signatures to run for a spot. On Wednesday, the district announced the following five had their signatures verified to make it onto the ballot:

  • Regina Hurtado, a parent member of the District Accountability Committee.
  • Ramona Lewis, a district grandmother, and the school board liaison for Denver Public Schools.
  • Reneé Lovato, a community member and operations coordinator for educator talent at the Colorado Department of Education.
  • Adrian Schimpf, a former school board member.
  • Harvest Thomas, a tax examiner for the state of Colorado, and the only incumbent.

Two current board members who were appointed to fill seats left vacant by resignations — Sen. Dominick Moreno and district parent Laura Martinez — have said they are not running, Board member David Rolla is term-limited.

Martinez is leaving a vacancy for a two-year term as opposed to the other seats which are for four year terms. Candidates had the chance to choose whether to run for a two-year or four-year term.

All five certified candidates are running for one of the three four-year terms.

Although the district this year became the first in Colorado to be placed under private management, the locally elected school board still oversees the contract with the private company, MGT.

MGT hired former and current superintendents from around the state to help improve Adams 14’s achievement. Two of them, Harry Bull and Don Rangle, now have a seat on the dais with the school board, as the district’s superintendents have in the past. By order of the state, MGT’s role is much like that of a superintendent. Among other things, MGT can recommend changes to policy and curriculum, and can recommend hiring and firing of employees.

The school board retains much of its same abilities, although now under scrutiny from state officials. Anytime the school board votes down a recommendation from MGT, the board must submit an explanation to state officials.

At some point, it’s also possible the new board members will oversee a hiring process for a district superintendent. The district has been without one since April. Adams 14 board members had expressed concern that they were going to have to pay a company to do the same job as the superintendent.

The MGT contract calls for the group to manage a lot at first, but the plan is to slowly leave more of the work to the district before MGT’s contract ends in four years.

The following people submitted paperwork to run, but were not ultimately certified.

  • Joseph Dreiling, a detective with the Adams County Sheriff’s office who previously served on the Adams 14 school board as an appointed member.
  • Maria Zubia, a parent member of the District Accountability Committee and director of community outreach for Kids First Health Care.