Adams school district won’t renew teacher’s contracts despite protests

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Students gather outside an Adams 14 School District board meeting on March 26, 2013, protesting the decision to not renew the contracts of seven probationary teachers.

Students gather outside an Adams 14 School District board meeting on March 26, 2013, protesting the decision to not renew the contracts of seven probationary teachers.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Despite an outpouring of support for teachers on the chopping block, the Adams County 14 School District board voted not to renew contracts of seven probationary teachers at Adams City High School on Tuesday.

Students rallied outside the board meeting in Commerce City Tuesday night on behalf of their favorite teachers. While addressing the board, some were overcome with emotion, including Albert Santiago, who said his history teacher made him want to become a history teacher too.

“He’s helping me … sorry,” Santiago said, fighting back tears. “He’s helping me perform my best in all my classes and he’s understanding me. He’s not here just for the job, he’s here because he wants to be. And this is what the district needs: teachers who care.”

Other students raised accusations at the meeting.

“They (the district) don’t like the teachers who fight against what they think is wrong,” Julie Miller said. “I think they (the district) are not used to that, so they just fire the teachers who actually care enough to use their voice and speak out.”

Adams 14 says its decision not to renew the contracts of the seven probationary teachers, all of whom were operating on one-year contracts, is not uncommon across the state’s public education system.

“This is the difficult time of year when districts throughout the state have to determine which probationary teachers will face non-renewal under the statutory process of the Teacher Employment, Compensation, and Dismissal Act,” Adams 14 spokesperson Breanna Deidel said.

That same Teacher Employment, Compensation, and Dismissal Act allows school districts to non-renew a probationary teacher “for any nondiscriminatory reason or for no reason at all,” Deidel said. She went on to say that same act prevents districts from discussing the details of non-renewal decisions.