District judge says two Denver schools don't meet innovation criteria

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Denver District Judge Ann B. Frick determined in a July 11 ruling that about a dozen of the district's innovation measures at campuses were valid under the Innovation Schools Act, but that DPS ran into more shaky ground with two schools in the Stapleton neighborhood.

Frick wrote that Swigert International School and McAuliffe International School were opened as innovation schools despite being in a neighborhood with no history of low academic performance.

Under the act, schools that are trying to improve low academic performance can adopt innovation status to get flexibility such as waiving certain union rights and exercising increased financial autonomy.

"Indeed, no evidence was presented that the students in the Stapleton neighborhood schools were failing academically," Frick wrote. "Thus, the court finds that the creation of these schools does not serve the legislative purpose or intent of the (Innovation Schools Act.)"

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