School Board eyes new counsel firms

Montessori lawyer switched firms

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Steamboat Springs School District attorney Chris Gdowski's decision to switch Front Range law firms has left the Steamboat Springs School Board with a decision to make: transfer the district's general counsel responsibilities to Gdowski's new firm or employ someone else.

The district uses Steamboat Springs attorney Mike Holloran for a range of legal services, but it also needs an attorney who specializes in school law, school finance and personnel issues, School Board President Paul Fisher said Monday.

Gdowski has represented the district for more than four years, including working as its primary counsel in the ongoing battle over a proposed Montessori charter school.

Earlier this summer, Gdowski left the Denver law firm of Semple, Miller and Mooney for Boulder-based Caplan and Earnest.

Gdowski will continue to serve as special counsel to the district on a couple of pending legal issues, including the Montessori situation and a student discipline matter in the appeals process.

The School Board on Monday decided to formally request offers from several firms and attorneys specializing in school law, including Caplan and Earnest; Semple, Miller and Mooney; and Richard Lyons, who represents the Eagle County and Summit County school districts.

Fisher said the School Board didn't automatically contract Gdowski's new firm because "we don't know the fees or specialties of the firm." The School Board is happy with the work Gdowski has done during his tenure with the district, Fisher said recently.

Caplan and Earnest represents several Front Range school districts, including the Jefferson County, the Thompson and the Douglas County school districts, Gdowski said.

He hopes to continue to represent the district.

"I think it's a (school) board that cares a lot about education and kids," Gdowski said. "I like working with folks like that."

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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