Mesa County Valley School Board will meet in a closed session to review contracts for current and future superintendent

Stina Sieg/CPR News
Palisade High School, the first school in Mesa County to close due to the unknown, norovirus-like illness.

The school board for the largest district in Mesa County will meet behind closed doors Monday night to discuss the contracts of several of its employees, including its current superintendent and future superintendent.

Superintendent Diana Sirko is set to retire in June, and the board announced her replacement last spring as Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brian Hill. The contract for the Director of Equity and Inclusion Tracy Gallegos will also be reviewed at the meeting.

It is unclear what actions will be taken following the contract review. No decisions or action can be made at a closed executive session, but the board has the power to extend or terminate contracts. 

The agenda calls for board members to confer with the board’s attorneys, David Price and Tammy Eret, to receive legal advice on specific legal questions regarding the contracts and to discuss personnel matters.

Newly elected board president Andrea Haitz said the board is doing its fiduciary duty by reviewing the contracts, which were signed before most of the current members took office. 

“The contracts we're looking at are all six-figure incomes,” she said. “We have teacher shortages, we have other issues in the district with trying to make sure our health care is manageable for our teachers. It all goes hand in hand with the budget.”

The Mesa County Valley School Board finds itself in a similar position to the Douglas County school board, with a majority of seats being taken by newly elected conservative members. 

Douglas County school board controversy: A timeline of what led to the firing of the superintendent

Haitz said she was unaware of the happenings within Douglas County until Monday morning. She said she’s not sure whether her or the board will take immediate action following the contract review. 

“I just can't answer those questions that are four or five [steps] down the way, because I don't have any information. What if there's a big issue or something or what if it's completely fine?” Haitz said.

Last year's school board elections statewide were more politicized than in past years, as several national hot-button issues like mask-wearing and the teaching — or not — of critical race theory in schools have pushed angry parents to try to “take back” their school boards.

There is a planned protest outside of the executive session in Grand Junction on Monday.

CPR's Alison Borden contributed to this report.