After 15 years, Greer retiring from school board

Posted in: News
By Todd Brooks
Jan 3, 2013 - 8:48:12 AM

GREER FAMILYThe past 15 years have gone by quickly for Robert Greer. Marlow School Board’s vice president will not run for re-election, ending his school board service which began in 1998.
A native of Marlow, Greer has spent his whole life here. After 12 years of schooling, he graduated in 1980 and entered the workforce. His parents still live here and his four adult children are still in the area.
Greer’s decision not to run again has nothing to do with getting tired or frustrated with being on the board, but is based solely on time constraints.
“I took a job as a land agent for an oil company,” Greer said. “I go around and buy land easements for pipelines and I have to do a lot of travel because of it.
“I hate it, because I’ve always been self-employed before, and then this opportunity came up and I’m working out of the Denver area now. Sometimes you just do what you have to do. That was the main reason for getting off the school board is I just can’t be there 100 percent of the time. I talked to (Marlow Superintendent George Coffman) and I’ve missed some meetings this year. It’s just hard to get back and forth on the first Monday of the month.”
Even with the logistical problems, it still took some soul-searching for Greer to reach his decision.
“It took a long time,” Greer said. “After 15 years, it is a part of your life. I enjoy being on the school board. I just can’t do it anymore because of my job. It takes precedence right now.”
Greer said there is a misconception of how much time is involved in being a member of something like a school board or a city council.
“People think it’s just the first Monday of the month and it’s just not,” he said. “There is a lot more involved.”
Board members have to attend classes and trainings periodically, which have only increased since Greer first got on the board 15 years ago.
“When I first got on the board, we just had to go a couple of times, but now they’ve added about six or eight more hours,” Greer said. “It’s time out of your day, and usually the training is on weekends.
“People just don’t understand. They are like, ‘Well, you’re on school board, it’s just one time a month.’”
“It’s kind of like a preacher when people think he only works on Sundays.”
There have been a lot of good memories for Greer. Some of the highlights include always having a financial overage at the end of every school year.
“Even with all the cuts from the state, we’ve been sound financially,” Greer said. “I think in every year except one, we averaged 10 to 11 percent carryover. I think that is very good, and of course some of that has to do with the superintendent too.”
“I think even with purchasing the properties we have around the schools. We started buying the property around the elementary school several years ago. The plan was, six to eight years ago, to buy the properties in hopes of one day expanding. We’ve purchased some around the high school for the future because one day we are going to need more room on the high school campus.
“We didn’t do this to be landlords. We did it to help the district progress instead of regress.”
It might not have mattered if the board was unable to get a bond passed to pay for the school. It did on its third, and what might have possibly been, its last chance.
“That was a lot of work to get it passed,” Greer said. “When we first started trying to get it passed five or six years ago, we had a lot of special meetings promoting it. The first two times it didn’t pass, and it was hard to make that decision to try a third.
“That was probably the biggest highlight for me was getting the new elementary school.”
There have been some personal highlights, which are just as important as the professional ones. He handed diplomas to all four of his children – Keri, Kelsi, Rachel, and Jeffrey.
“That was a very unique experience,” Greer said. “I didn’t know if I was going to have another opportunity after the first one. That was my first term and you never know if you are going to re-run or anything else.”
Jeffrey was the last child to walk across the stage. He graduated last year.
Although not his biological children, he married their widowed mother Linda when the they were very young.
“He took in my children as his own and they love him so much and call him ‘dad’ since they didn’t get to grow up with theirs since their father died when they were only little children,” Linda said. “He saved our lives and we thank God for him and his family every day.”
Greer still remembers having to file for the office for the first time and not really being sure of what he was doing.
“I had never done anything like that before,” Greer said.
Still, he felt the need to be involved in the community.
“Having children in the school system, and me being from Marlow, it was just like giving back,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t know why you do things, but for me mainly it was just to stay involved in the community.”
Greer did not realize how much was involved in being on the school board and taking care of the district’s business.
“It’s not as easy as it looks,” Greer said. “There are laws and repercussions. You had better follow the state law to a ‘T’ because you are held accountable.”
Greer does have some advice for those who have filed for his seat or any future school board member.
“Always have an open mind because the decisions you make not only affect the students, but the school district,” Greer said. “Whether it’s policy or money, any decision that is made affects a lot of people. You may make 50 percent of people happy and 50 percent of them mad. Just look at all the circumstances.”