DENVER (KDVR) — After a 4-3 vote by the Denver Public Schools Board of Education, the superintendent of Colorado’s largest school district will see a bump in pay and a contract extension.
Dr. Alex Marrero initially signed a contract with the district in July of 2021 for a $260,000 salary. In the roughly two years since, that number has been has been bumped up to $276,354 annually, due to a cost of living adjustment.
The new deal extends Marrero’s time as superintendent until 2026. His contract was set to expire in 2025. It will pay him $305,000 per year, representing a 10% raise from what he earned in base salary in 2023.
The new contract also includes incentives for Marrero to earn more money, depending on how many “measures” he achieves each year. The measures are goals set by the board, and under the deal, Marrero could see up to 12.5% of his base salary paid through incentives, provided he hits every goal.
“What you will see in this contract is a commitment to performance accountability,” board member Scott Baldermann said during public discussion. Baldermann voted to approve the contract. “Performance pay is very unique, and I think it could set the stage for not only how we hold the superintendent accountable as well as the board to the public.”
Superintendent’s raise gets pushback
The board vice president, Auon’tai Anderson, joined Michelle Quattlebaum and Scott Esserman in voting against the deal.
“I plan to vote against the contract,” Anderson said ahead of the formal vote. “Not because I don’t believe that making sure our employee has fair compensation and also making sure there is longevity, but I just don’t believe right now is the appropriate time to consider this.”
Quattlebaum said the process for creating this deal was not transparent, and said the matter was moved forward by “a simple majority” of four people.
“I cannot agree with the process that was used,” Quattlebaum said. “As a board, we should have engaged in robust discourse to at the very least, to agree upon the process in which we would use to handle the matter before us. This was not done.”
The deal makes Marrero one of the top three highest-paid superintendents in Colorado. Previously, his compensation did not put him in the top 10, despite his role in Colorado’s largest school district.