GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — UPDATE: In response to the meeting on Feb. 7, District 51 officials released the following statement: “The Board of Education met yesterday evening in executive session to receive legal advice regarding several contracts, a number of which involved several District senior administrators. Some in our community assumed that some members of the Board wanted to fire some or all of these administrators, and rumors spread to that effect.”

The statement continued, “Yesterday’s executive session was not conducted with any intent to fire any District administrator, and no such future action is contemplated. Tomorrow, the Board will meet again in executive session to discuss Dr. Hill’s contract. The Board and Dr. Hill both desire to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. The Board does not plan to take any formal action or make any announcement following tomorrow’s session.”

ORIGINAL: On Feb. 7, with concerns the newly elected conservative school board members might follow in the path of Douglas County’s school board and attempt to fire our local school superintendents, Mesa County parents and teachers gathered to show their support for the embattled officials.

Parents, teachers, and county representatives gathered to make their voices heard but before that, as Assistant Superintendent, Brian Hill walked in the door, the crowd gave him a standing ovation, erupting in cheers, “This has been a tough two years, I think for everybody in education so when you get some supports it feels good,” Hill says.

Support that left Superintendent Diana Sirko in tears, “It is absolutely incredible and greatly appreciated, am going to cry,” Sirko explains, “I have received 40 to 50 emails today from people saying don’t take this personally you have done a great job, Brian has done a great job –especially during a pandemic so we really appreciate the incredible support from our community and staff.”

The Newest board members put Sirko and Hill’s contracts under review. The question is: why? “We have a really strong student body and that’s really why we are here, we are here to break down barriers so that our students can grow,” Hill says.

This D-51 teacher has devoted 14 years to the classroom. Seeing tonight’s show of support and awareness of the board’s recent tumult gives her a lot of hope, “On the downside, I believe that our current conservative-leaning board members have been really ill-advised on some of the actions they are taking to the detriment to what the classroom needs are,” D51 Teacher explains.

An emotion, former school board candidate Nick Allan seconds, “We are seeing too much politics, this is a chance for the community to show the other side,” Allan says.

Board members are also reviewing the contract for Director of Equity and Inclusion, Tracy Gallegos, “This position is necessary for D51, you can’t eliminate it overnight, you can’t eliminate discrimination,” David Combs, Community Activist says.

Following Douglas County’s termination of its superintendent, a special meeting to review D51 employee contracts had protestors feeling deja vu, “I think there’s been some confusion that we are going to try and pull the same thing, tonight there is no vote, there is no decision,” Andrea Haitz, D51 School Board Member says.

So what’s next? “We really need after this meeting some concrete steps on how we are going to help this district and it needs to be above board and presented to the community,” Allan says.

Unfortunately concerned parents and teachers will have to wait for the board meeting next Tuesday (2/15) for an answer.

Another pressing point, removing the equity director along with the superintendents would also cost Mesa County taxpayers a bundle of money.