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New general counsel for school district

Chris Gdowski will continue to serve as special counsel on Montessori case

After nearly four years of representing the Steamboat Springs School District, Chris Gdowski will no longer be its general counsel.

The School Board approved at its Monday night meeting the hiring of Richard Lyons as general counsel to the district. Lyons is a partner in the Longmont firm of Bernard, Lyons, Gaddis and Kahn.

Lyons’ appointment is effective immediately, School Board President Paul Fisher said. Gdowski will continue to serve as special counsel to the district in its defense of a lawsuit filed by Steamboat Springs Montessori. Lyons will be available to help the district and Gdowski with the lawsuit, Fisher said.



The School Board’s decision to appoint a new firm comes several months after Gdowski left the Denver firm of Semple, Miller and Mooney for Boulder’s Caplan and Earnest. Gdowski’s move prompted the School Board to consider other firms, including both Gdowski’s old and new ones, for its general counsel representation, Fisher said.

Lyons previously was hired by the School Board to be its legal representation during the hearing involving an evaluation dispute between former superintendent Cyndy Simms and Strawberry Park Elementary School Principal John DeVincentis. Gdowski represented Simms during the hearing.



In other School Board news:

n Millie Beall was named as the district’s recipient of the 2003 Friends of Education award. Beall was instrumental in the district’s superintendent search process, when she gave two-hour tours of Steamboat to each of the three finalists who visited the district, Fisher said. “Most people know Millie has given lots and lots to this community and lots and lots to this district,” Fisher said.

n The School Board approved a motion that will give the North Routt Community Charter School up to $7,965.28 in revenue generated from the cost-of-living mill-levy increase. The agreement is for one year only, and the funds must be used for salary and benefits. Any further distribution of cost-of-living funds to the charter school will be negotiated in its contract renewal process.

The district awarded a similar portion of the revenue to the charter school last year, but it was told it had no legal obligation to do so this year or in future years.

n The School Board approved a motion to subsidize the district’s nutritional services department in the amount of $45,000. The department is no longer self-supporting because of significant increases in salary and benefit costs that were part of a competitive market adjustment several years ago.

n The School Board accepted two gifts from the Education Fund Board for technology training and maintenance. Each gift is in the amount of $7,500.

n School Board member Paula Stephenson said she is the interim executive director for the Colorado Rural Schools Caucus, a 2-year-old group of representatives from rural school districts. The caucus seeks to be a voice for rural school districts through legislative lobbying and other efforts. Stephenson said has applied to be the full-time executive director.


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