Roaring Fork school board OKs superintendent contract renewal, discusses equity |

Roaring Fork school board OKs superintendent contract renewal, discusses equity

Rob Stein

The Roaring Fork School District school board on Wednesday renewed Superintendent Rob Stein’s contract through June of 2022, with no increase in pay.

In addition, the board heard a presentation from the district’s new Equity Steering committee — a conversation that tied back to some changes in the superintendent’s annual evaluation process.

The board unanimously voted to approve Stein’s contract after recent negotiations, during which he requested no increase in his $167,228 salary approved in October 2019. He would, however, receive any cost-of-living increases at the same rate granted to other district employees.

“I am honored that the board is entrusting me to continue to lead the Roaring Fork Schools. I will do my best to serve our students and to make our schools the absolute best places to learn and work,” Stein said.

In addition, upon Stein’s request, the board going forward agreed to align the superintendent’s contract and benefits with those of all certified staff, as determined each spring.

The superintendent will also receive no additional benefits or reimbursements other than those that are standard for other employees, according to the contract agreement.

“Because of Rob’s and the board’s commitment to transparency, equity and treating everybody as an equal member of the crew, we’ve made some important changes to further those values through the evaluation and contract renewal processes,” Board of Education President Natalie Torres said in a follow-up press release.

Torres also praised Stein’s and his administrative team’s work over the past year to steer through the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have learned many lessons during the course of the last year, and we are grateful to keep Rob at the helm for the 2021-22 school year,” Torres said in the release. “As the board described in Rob’s recent evaluation, he has demonstrated leadership in so many areas, while continuously pursuing strategic goals in support of our broader mission.”

Equitable schools discussed

The main points covered by the Equity Steering committee were improving language access for all students and families in the district, as well as the discussion of how better equity within the school system might look or sound.

Brianda Cervantes, who is part of the committee, said her work with community partners helps give her a better idea of what needs to be improved upon as far as communication or accessibility to resources goes specifically for Latino families.

“I’ve been working for instance with community members that are a part of organizations so we have these regular meetings every two weeks where they get to give their input of how they’re listening to the community and what are the issues our families are dealing with in terms of relationships with the schools, with the district,” Cervantes said.

Cervantes and Amy Fairbanks both presented in English and Spanish to illustrate their efforts to communicate in languages everyone can understand. Fairbanks is a part of the audit subcommittee for the project and explained its intended role.

“The purpose of this committee is to conduct an organizational equity audit to identify areas for growth and support equity in the envisioning process,” Fairbanks said.

Board member Jasmin Ramirez brought up the fact that many school policies within the district do not have direct Spanish translations and suggested passing a resolution to set a firm timeline for results from the committee.

Board President Torres acknowledged the need for the board to do more than just strategize and actually hold themselves accountable when it comes to equity within the district.

“If I’m understanding it correctly too, you (Jasmin) just want to make sure that we keep this as a top priority for us as a board. I appreciate it, because we’ve done that in the sense of setting it as a priority through our strategic goals, but … I think (what) I hear you talking about is that accountability to keep this momentum moving forward,” Torres said.

Roaring Fork High School history teacher Matt Wells will hold a Zoom discussion for district members titled “Justice Equity and Leadership Seminar” to open up the dialogue further about equal representation within the school network.

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