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Background. Woodlin School District R-104 (“Woodlin”) is a single-campus
district, housing grades preschool to twelve, located on the Eastern Plains of Colorado in western
Washington County. The total enrollment in 2009-10 was 105. Three small communities
surround Woodlin: Lindon, Woodrow, and Last Chance. All of these communities combined
have a population of less than 250. The people of the Woodlin area shop in the larger towns
about forty miles away. Nearly all of the students attending Woodlin live in a rural setting.
Most of their parents farm or ranch for a living. School is in session Tuesday through Friday on
extended school hours, 8:00 AM -4:00 PM. Woodlin has strong community support for its
school. The community uses the school building for functions after hours. The school is the
center of all activities in the area. 5/2/11 Deposition Testimony of Rose Cronk (“Cronk Depo.
Tr.”) 13:3-22, 22:4-19; Ex. 3210, Woodlin School District.
Programs. Woodlin has cut many of its programs, such as art, music, physical
education, and business education, to half time in the last few years. Cronk Depo Tr. 14:10-
The district has concerns about the sustainability of its agriculture program, which is
extremely important to this agrarian community. The district has had four agriculture teachers in
four years. Given recent cuts to the program and the district’s low salary schedule, it is hard to
retain teachers in this area. Superintendent Cronk also has concerns about the sustainability of
the business program given reductions in career and technical education (CTE) reimbursement
rates. Cronk Depo. Tr. 182:2-14, 188:12-22, 189:23-190:19.
Woodlin does not have a summer school or after-school tutoring program. It cannot
afford the staff and transportation that would be required to offer such services. Superintendent
Cronk believes she could accomplish the goals in the district’s unified improvement plan if she
had additional resources to offer summer school or after school intervention. Cronk Depo. Tr.
Woodlin does not offer any AP courses on site. The lack of AP classes impacts students’
ability to receive scholarships and gain admission to some post-secondary institutions. Cronk
Depo. Tr. 269:24-270:25.
Woodlin has combined classes in the elementary school; first and second grades are
taught together, third and fourth grades together, and fifth and sixth grades together. The benefit
of this arrangement is that it saves three teachers. The downsides are that there is less staff
support for students and a greater range of skill levels in one classroom, which is challenging for
one teacher to address. Cronk Depo. Tr. 97:8-99:13, 100:19-25, 101:9-12, 101:19-102:11.
Woodlin does not have a teacher on site to teach foreign language. The classes are taught
exclusively through the VNET (a computer networking system) or online. Students are
sometimes precluded from taking VNET classes by their score on the Accuplacer placement test,
which is a prerequisite. The VNET system does not function when the weather is below twenty
degrees or there is a strong rainstorm. Cronk Depo. Tr. 135:8-11, 137:17-138:19, 153:2-23,
Woodlin is not meeting all of the needs of its special education students. The district
knows what services it needs to provide to its students with disabilities, but is limited in its
ability to provide those services by insufficient access to special education providers. Cronk
Depo. Tr. 97:8-99:13, 242:25-243:17, 268:9-269:6.
Woodlin recognizes that it does not provide adequate services to its GT students because
of insufficient funding. The district cannot hire a GT coordinator and does not have enough
funding for curricular materials or professional development in this area. It cannot implement all
of the Advanced Learning Plans (ALPs) it develops because of lack of time and trained
personnel. Cronk Depo. Tr. 85:17-87:20, 175:25-176:12, 264:9-20.
Woodlin serves fifteen students in its preschool program, but is only funded by the State
for four students. Woodlin has considered eliminating its preschool program as a result of
budget constraints, but to do so would be, in Superintendent Cronk’s opinion, “academic
suicide.” Research shows that preschool is one of the best ways to improve academic
achievement for at-risk students. It is also not feasible to charge tuition for preschool. More
than fifty percent of Woodlin’s population is on free and reduced lunch. To charge fees for
preschool would eliminate the very kids the program is designed to help. Cronk Depo. Tr. 97:8-
99:13, 257:21-258:3, 262:18-263:20.
Facilities. Although there has been a lot of repair work done on Woodlin’s
facilities in the last five years because of damage from a fire and hail storm that exposed
asbestos, those repairs were largely funded by grants and insurance money, and those resources
were insufficient to build back all that was lost. There are still a number of outstanding facilities
issues, such as ADA compliance, sidewalk lighting, parking lot potholes, playground equipment,
HVAC issues, and fire code compliance. Cronk Depo. Tr. 207:12-208:23, 219:7-221:15, 222:1-
224:15, 229:25-231:3, 274:18-275:10.
Technology. The technology in Woodlin is very minimal and outdated. Not all
classrooms have computers. In the high school wing, all the classes compete for the use of a
dozen computers in the library extension. Only two classrooms in the district have clickers. A
few classrooms have SMART boards. Only two to three classes have projectors. Attempts to
apply for technology grants have been unsuccessful. Cronk Depo. Tr. 208:24-210:8, 212:15-17,
Personnel. Woodlin has a low salary schedule. It tends to attract young teachers
who come to be trained and then move on to larger districts, such as Aurora, that can pay more
or offer them a full time position. Cronk Depo Tr. 14:10-15:15.
The recent budget cuts have made it harder to hire and retain teachers in certain program
areas. For example, Woodlin was unable to find a licensed teacher for the part-time physical
education position. It had to hire a long-term substitute with no training. Cronk Depo Tr. 19:23-
Student Outcomes. Not every graduate of Woodlin schools is college or
workforce ready when he or she walks out the door. Cronk Depo. Tr. 53:6-13.
Woodlin did not make AYP in all target areas in 2008-09. Cronk Depo. Tr. 64:6-17; Ex.
3204, 2008-2009 NCLB District Accountability Data – AYP Elementary Level for Woodlin R-
Woodlin does not meet state expectations for academic achievement in math and
academic growth in math and writing at the elementary school level. It does not meet state
expectations for math achievement at the middle school level and writing achievement at the
high school level. Ex. 3203, District Performance Framework Report 2010 for Woodlin R-104,
Superintendent Cronk believes if she had more state funding, she could do a better job
educating her students. Cronk Depo. Tr. 97:2-7.
State Requirements. The biggest challenge for Woodlin is being able to meet the
increasing state requirements, such as new standards, post secondary workforce readiness, and
teacher evaluations, with decreasing financial support. Cronk. Depo. Tr. 22:20-24:6.
Superintendent Cronk has considered seeking waivers of some of the more onerous state
requirements, but has found that waivers are not available in the areas she needs them most. The
attempts she has made in the past to secure waivers have been unsuccessful. Cronk Depo. Tr.
37:23-38:23; Ex. 3202, Waiver of State Law and Regulation.
Superintendent Cronk does not believe Woodlin can meet state requirements without
additional resources. Cronk Depo. Tr. 123:11-14.
Additional resources would help alleviate the paperwork burden associated with
increasing federal and state requirements. Cronk Depo. Tr. 67:8-69:1.
Woodlin cannot exercise local control over instruction. It is a priority of the Woodlin
community to have a strong agriculture program, but the program continues to be cut as a result
of budget issues. The community has mitigated the impact of the cuts by raising money locally
to support the program. Nevertheless, the program is not as strong as the community would like.
The community also supports strong interventions for at-risk students, which the district is
unable to provide due to budgetary constraints. Cronk Depo. Tr. 266:16-268:8.
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