The 2013 organizational meeting of the Decorah School Board saw a changing of the guard.
The Board elected current Vice President Ron Fadness to the position of president and current Board President Melanie Tietz was elected vice president.
Fadness has served on the Board since 2009 and as vice president since 2010.
Tietz was appointed to the Board in June of 2003 to take the seat of Paula Petersburg, whose family relocated. Tietz was then officially elected to the Board in September of 2003. She served as Board vice president from 2005 to 2010, and has served as president ever since.
Prior to the organizational meeting, the outgoing Board held its last meeting, during which they received an update on the issues with the air-conditioning unit at Carrie Lee Elementary.
Since last fall, the District has been troubleshooting the excessive noise coming from the unit, following complaints from neighbors. Plywood has been installed as a barrier, and Building and Grounds Director Greg Schaller has repeatedly met with Trane regarding the system and its operation.
"I thought we had a good hold on things," said Schaller.
"I'd really like to get to the bottom of this."
Schaller is in the process of trying to get some quotes on a barrier fence that would help with absorption of the sounds. He also is working with Trane regarding tweaking the software and how it operates the unit.
Schaller has access to a printout of when the units are running and believes there are times when the unit is running when it shouldn't be.
"I still think something is going on with that," said Schaller.
"Forget the noise, it sounds like we have some energy-efficiency issues," said Fadness.
Superintendent Mike Haluska said the District is planning to remove the plywood so it doesn't ice up over the winter. Schaller is going to continue to try to get quotes on soundproof fencing but will also try to solve the operational issues with Trane.
A fond farewell
Prior to swearing in newly elected Board Member Cindy Schissel, the Board said goodbye to longtime Decorah teacher and Board Member Rick Valley, who has served since 2006.
"We thank Rick for his years of service to the District," said Fadness.
Valley noted he has lived in Decorah for the past 40 years and has spent 39 of those involved with Decorah Schools.
"It has been a prideful time for me. I was always proud of the school and the students, parents and teaching staff I worked with," said Valley.
"I remember telling Paula Petersburg I was always proud of this Board - not that I always agreed with the Board -- we haven't always agreed either. But when I see happenings in boards in other areas, I think our Board does a good job of trying to do what's right."
"Congratulations on your second retirement," said Tietz.