School board to make public Farrell contract
March 5, 2002
The details of Aspen School District Superintendent Tom Farrell’s contract will become public later this week, the president of the Aspen School Board said Monday.
Board president Augie Reno said the contract, which was approved by the board last Thursday after a nearly six-hour closed meeting, will be released once it is reviewed by the school district’s attorney and then approved by Farrell himself.
“Right now the attorney has those [documents], and he should be getting back to us tomorrow,” Reno said of the contract. “I hope it’s available within the next day or two.”
Attendees of Monday night’s meeting of the school board questioned district officials about Thursday’s contract discussions, which also concerned Farrell’s annual evaluation.
Farrell, who has served as Aspen’s superintendent of schools for 12 years, has come under fire recently for his performance with the district. The contract/evaluation discussion was originally scheduled for a Feb. 19 board meeting, but the agenda item was moved when a group of parents and teachers spent nearly two hours of that meeting both supporting and criticizing the superintendent.
The board met Thursday to determine whether Farrell, who is currently serving the first year of a three-year contract, should have his contract extended an additional year. The discussions were held during an executive session that was closed to the general public. Because the board was discussing a personnel issue, its members were able to discuss the contract in private.
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Reno said the board emerged from executive session around 11 p.m. Thursday after “an extremely positive and productive discussion” to announce that a contract for Farrell had been approved. The board is required by Colorado law to enter an open, public session before making a decision on any particular issue that was discussed in executive session; however, a local reporter claims that the public session was held in a locked office building.
Citing the Colorado Public Records Law, a reporter for the Aspen Daily News turned out for Monday’s board meeting with a request to see Farrell’s new contract and the minutes of Thursday’s public discussion.
Reno promised that the board would do so after the contract’s legal review.