Chlouber challenges Duran for Lake County CMC trustee seat |

Chlouber challenges Duran for Lake County CMC trustee seat

Scott N. Miller
Vail Daily
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

The Nov. 1 mail-in ballot election includes contested races for four Colorado Mountain College board of trustees seats.

In District 2, incumbent Stan Orr of Glenwood Springs is being challenged by Kathy Goudy of Carbondale.

Running for the open District 4 seat are Richard Hague of Breckenridge and Robert Taylor of Summit County. Dick Bateman, the current Summit County trustee, is term-limited.

Running for the open District 5 seat are Ken Brenner and John Fielding, both of Steamboat Springs.

In District 6, incumbent Wes Duran of Twin Lakes is being challenged by Pat Chlouber of Leadville.

Board of trustees members must reside in the county that comprises their director district, but they are elected at-large by the voters to represent the entire college district.

Today we hear from Pat Chlouber and Wes Duran of Lake County.

Pat Chlouber of Leadville serves on the Colorado Charter School Institute Board. She is a former Colorado teacher and retired from the U.S. Department of Education.

Wes Duran of Twin Lakes is retired after a 30-year career in the U.S. Air Force. He serves as the treasurer of the CMC board of trustees.

Q: What prompted you to run for a seat on the CMC board of trustees?

Chlouber: I moved to Leadville in 1976 with my husband, Ken, and our son, Cole. Ken is the founder of the Leadville Trail 100 race series and the Leadville Legacy Foundation. I have devoted my career to teaching and education.

I taught in Leadville for 20 years and served on the local school board. The importance of having a college in our hometown has become more evident each year. I have witnessed first-hand the successful and meaningful partnerships among the college, school districts, government, businesses and the communities

CMC is providing quality education to their students and our citizens. CMC is not only following the leading trends for colleges across the country, but is setting the bar high in the expansion of Internet as the primary tool for distance learning, expanding to baccalaureate degrees, increasing partnerships with four year institutions for smooth transitions, concurrent enrollment, reverse transfer students from four year colleges who seek an education at community college, and recruiting baby boomers who desire a change of career or may engage in public service.

My enthusiasm for CMC and my service on the Lake County board of education for nine years, the Colorado State board of education for five years, and as the U.S. Secretary of Education’s regional representative from 2001 to 2009 in six western states has provided me with a comprehensive background to run for this seat.

Duran: I was recruited in 2007 by Helen Ginandes Weiss, who served Colorado Mountain College with great distinction for 24 years as an adjunct professor and as a trustee representing two of its districts. Helen knew of my passion for education, my civic-mindedness, and my genuine desire to be of service to the community.

I am in my seventh year as a director of the local rural electric cooperative, and am both an active member and past president of the Rotary Club of Buena Vista. I have just completed a four-year term as Lake County trustee of CMC and have found it to be the most rewarding job I ever have had. I would appreciate the privilege of serving a second term (at the end of which I would be term-limited).

Q: What’s your opinion about the college’s recent move to a four-year degree?

Chlouber: The continued expansion of the educational opportunities with four year degrees at CMC is extremely important to the future of the college, students, and well-being of the local economy. This is one place students can access a four-year degree with realistic investments for their future and the future of our rural areas.

One of CMC’s greatest attributes is its unique ability to successfully educate within the diverse and varied communities and counties that comprise the CMC district.

There should be an objective and thorough evaluation regarding the success of the new degree programs to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the programs.

As trustee, I would definitely advocate for baccalaureate degree programs and the expansion of choices with the community, prospective students, colleagues, and the Legislature.

Duran: I vigorously supported this initiative from start to finish. It was shocking to me that there were no four-year colleges in our 12,500-square-mile district, which is larger than the state of Maryland.

I traveled to Denver more often than any other trustee, and testified on CMC’s behalf before the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. I actively lobbied Colorado legislators for our bill, and was present when Governor Ritter signed it into law.

I also was present when the Higher Learning Commission approved accreditation of our first two baccalaureate degrees. Our four-year program is up and running, with over 150 students enrolled and many more in the pipeline.

The door of opportunity is now wide open for high school graduates (or students with their GED) to complete a four-year degree without leaving their mountain communities, and at a current total cost of under $9,000. Show me another college that can offer better value.

Q: What does CMC need to do to keep college education affordable and attainable for district residents?

Chlouber: CMC is in a unique position as one of only two community colleges outside of the state system. The college has a great deal of autonomy with its budget because of the way it is funded – about 71 percent coming from local district, 9 percent from the state, 19 percent from tuition, and 1 percent from other sources. It is not as dependent on state or federal funding and the rules that come with it.

With 22 percent of its assets in reserves and controlling expenditures in a challenging economy, the college can remain affordable. CMC has a tremendous opportunity to grow and enlarge its student population, which also grows its funding base. CMC is absolutely a great buy for students. The tuition is reasonable and the outlook is great.

Duran: Attainability is not a problem anymore because our four-year degrees are offered at every one of CMC’s seven campuses (and also at our eighth campus, which exists in cyberspace). The key to affordability is sound financial management, and CMC is the best example of that in Colorado.

As current college treasurer, I and the six other trustees have provided guidance and oversight to ensure that CMC remains fiscally sound. We set the example by serving without salary.

Our healthy cash reserves have allowed us the flexibility to acquire land at bargain prices and to build and renovate new facilities even in the present economic environment. This both provides jobs locally and guarantees optimal construction value for the tax dollars that we spend so carefully.

I am very proud that our mill levy has remained stable for almost 20 years, and that we live wisely within our budget.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User