Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Diana Sirko and Chief Academic Officer Rob Stein.
Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Diana Sirko and Chief Academic Officer Rob Stein. Credit: Christopher Mullen / Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Employment contracts with the Roaring Fork School District’s top two administrators are taking slightly longer than expected to negotiate.

The district, which runs 12 public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt, announced Tuesday that the board of education plans to review draft contracts for Superintendent Diana Sirko and Assistant Superintendent Rob Stein at its Jan. 28 meeting. District officials had originally hoped to have the two agreements worked out in time to consider them on Jan. 14.

“The board is taking a thoughtful approach to the contract negotiation process,” said Board President Daniel Biggs in a prepared statement. “We do not want to repeat the ambiguities of the past. We thought we would be ready for the next meeting on Jan. 14, but we all agreed we need to take our time.”

Sirko’s contract expires at the end of the current school year. She recently requested a three-year extension from the board but a number of parents reacted vocally to the proposed extension, saying they’d been led to believe that Stein was in line to replace Sirko as superintendent at the end of her current contract.

This led to numerous letters to the editor in local newspapers and public statements in support of both Sirko and Stein. At the board’s Dec. 10 meeting, however, board members surprised a large audience at Roaring Fork High School auditorium by announcing a tentative compromise: Sirko would remain superintendent for another two academic years, whereupon Stein would take Sirko’s place and serve as superintendent for another three years. This deal would involve two contracts: a two-year agreement with Sirko and a five-year agreement with Stein.

The proposed compromise seemed to defuse the controversy and earned mostly favorable comments from parents and district employees who spoke up at the December meeting. Some parents said they still wished Stein would assume the district’s highest post in 2015-16.

Board members warned the public at the time that negotiations could take a while, but that they hoped to button down both contracts sometime in January.

Editor’s note:
Aspen Journalism’s Education Desk is collaborating with The Aspen Times on schools coverage. The Times published this story on Wednesday, Jan. 14. 2015.

Brent Gardner-Smith, the founder of Aspen Journalism, and who served as AJ’s executive director until August 2021 and as editor from 2011-2020, is the news director at Aspen Public Radio. He's also been...