Wednesday, December 5, 2001
Steamboat Springs When Pat Gleason first became politically involved in the Steamboat Springs School District, it was to speak out against it.
In 1995, Gleason was a vocal opponent of the school bond issue to build a new high school at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass. After the bond issue failed, Gleason was asked to join the school district's 10 Plus Two Committee, which investigated the different issues the community was concerned about in building a new high school.
Six years later, the Steamboat native and owner of Gleason Construction Inc. has become the newest member on the school board, following in the footsteps of his father, Bob Gleason, who served on the board in the 1960s. After serving on the 10 Plus Two Committee, Gleason served on the district's accountability committee, including a stint as chairman for four years.
Gleason said that experience would help him serve on the school board, where he will replace Gary Buchan, who resigned shortly after being elected to the seat because he is moving.
"The way the schools are having some basic fundamental changes, I think perhaps my views may be of some value," Gleason said.
Some of the issues Gleason sees as fundamental are the school board's shift to policy-type government and staff and salary compensation plans.
In January, Gleason will fill the vacant spot left by Buchan, whose resignation is effective Dec. 31. Buchan was one of three school board members elected to the board Nov. 6 but notified the board of his resignation six days later because of a job relocation to Maryland.
After Buchan's resignation, the board set Nov. 30 as the last day to accept letters of interest for the open school board spot but had not received any applications by that deadline.
Gleason handed in his application the Monday after the deadline and the board appointed him the same day at its monthly workshop meeting. He said his decision to apply for the vacant position came after current school board members urged him to serve on the board.
The board had 60 days to fill the position after Buchan officially resigned, which will be after the Dec. 17 board meeting.
"We didn't have any applications, and we didn't just sit around and wait. We talked and thought about talking to some people," said school board President Paul Fisher. "We always keep our eyes open. A community leader fits well."
Besides his involvement with the school district, Gleason was a City Council member from 1985 to 1989 and has served on other community boards.
Gleason will become the fourth out of the five school board members to be appointed to the board midterm. Although voters elected Fisher, Tami Havener and Paula Stephenson to the board, all originally served after being appointed by the board to fill vacant positions.
Gleason has worked with the school district since his involvement in the 10 Plus Two Committee, which was made up of five members originally against the proposed bond issue and five for it. Through gathering public input, the committee was able to help reintroduce a bond issue for expanding the high school, which passed two years later.
Following his involvement in that committee, Gleason served on the district accountability committee and helped create audit teams that evaluate at the end of each year if the schools meet their goals and objectives.