Mar 28, 2012 12:25 AM by Lacey Steele

Trinidad superintendent controversy continues

A battle is heating up in Trinidad over District 1's first year superintendent.

We went to the board meeting Tuesday night to find out more from both sides.

It comes down to numbers and public image.

We spoke to the chairman of Concerned Parents and Community, also known as CPAC, and one of the former board members who hired Dr. Manuel Rodriguez.

Those with CPAC call for the resignation of Dr. Manuel Rodriguez.

"First week he came here, it was in the newspaper that this district is broken," said Kelley Ferdula, Chairman of CPAC. "This district was not broken. I can say now the district is broken.">

They say he has consistently portrayed the district in a negative light, including when it comes to the budget.

Vic Meyers says the board he was on hired Dr. Rodriguez for a reason.

"Because of his experience, his connections," said Meyers. "He can pick up a phone and call some of the best education leaders in the country."

Meyers claims the budget issues have been bad for years, so in his eyes, the superintendent is realistic.

"We're going to improve student learning and student achievement because we had 650 of our students that were in need of intervention, and our food service was in jeopardy of being lost back to the Colorado Department of Education," said Dr. Rodriguez.

The superintendent says revenue does not meet expenditures monthly, but he adds many extracurricular activities and electives will not be cut as some fear because he wants well-rounded students.

Those with CPAC also have problems with a new computer program called Compass Learning, which Kelley Ferdula says doesn't allow student interaction.

"Next year they are going to be, instead of one elective, they're going to have a Compass Learning class, so I'm here to explain what the detriment to the students would be if they were without the electives," said Ferdula.

Meyers says the proof is in the data and adds Compass Learning has already helped many students.

He says it comes down to accountability.

"Now there's a lot of folks that are not accustomed to that," said Meyers. "We haven't had accountability in that district since long before I was on the school board."

Ferdula spoke at the school board meeting tonight to urge them to think about what it all means for the students.

A preliminary budget will be ready by the first part of May.

Dr. Rodriguez tells News 5, as far as resigning, he has no plans to.

He adds he has four and a half years left on his contract to do his job.



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