Adams 14 gives superintendent new contract and large raise

A masked woman in a suit leans in over a long table to talk with students in a crowded school gym.
The Adams 14 school board approved a new contract through 2026 for Superintendent Karla Loria, right. (Courtesy of Adams 14)

The Adams 14 school board approved a new contract for Superintendent Karla Loría Tuesday night, giving her a substantial raise reflecting her new duties since the district regained management.

The contract, which takes effect July 1, will run through at least June 30, 2026. After that it will automatically renew for up to three more years unless the board notifies Loría otherwise. She will make $250,000 per year, with annual raises based on a consumer price index for the region.

Loría’s new salary puts her close to the top salaries in the largest districts in the state. Superintendent Alex Marrero in Denver and Superintendent Tracy Dorland in Jeffco each make $260,000 salaries.

The Adams 14 school board approved the contract unanimously as part of a consent agenda. 

“I am so thankful for your work Dr. Loría,”  Board President Reneé Lovato said just before the vote. “You have done so much to not only elevate our school district but done so on a state and national, international level so thank you for that.”

Karla Loría (Courtesy of Adams 14 School District)

In part, Lovato was referring to a presentation earlier in the meeting where the board heard an update about the district beginning its evaluation from Cognia, a nonprofit organization that reviews and accredits schools and districts around the world.

Maria Zubia, another Adams 14 board member, told Loría she appreciated her integrity.

Loría’s original contract signed in 2021 paid her $205,000 annually, more than previous district superintendents earned. Her predecessor Javier Abrego made $169,125 before leaving the district. 

“The increase is in recognition of the increased duties of the superintendent that resulted from the return of the district’s authority by the State Board of Education,” the new contract states.

Loría’s original contract stated that she would not receive a raise when she received an unsatisfactory performance evaluation, but that stipulation is not in the new contract. 

When Loría took charge of the 6,100-student district, Adams 14 was under a state order to be fully managed by an outside group, due to many years of low test scores. The plan was for the management company to slowly release more duties to the district as they phased out their work over the next two years.

Not long after Loría started, she asked the board to end its relationship with the management company. Loría now says she was blocked from many decisions by the management company.

The early termination of that contract led the State Board to order the district begin a reorganization process. The district has formed a reorganization committee with neighboring districts and must design a plan, which could range up to merging or dissolving Adams 14.

Read the new contract:

Yesenia Robles is a reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado covering K-12 school districts and multilingual education. Contact Yesenia at yrobles@chalkbeat.org.

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