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New members of the West Fargo School Board are sworn in at the Liedel Education Center on Monday in West Fargo. Dave Wallis

West Fargo School Board reorganizes

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Two of the three West Fargo School Board members with more than a year of experience on the board will now serve as president and vice president.

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Patti Stedman, who is currently serving a second term on the school board, was unanimously elected as board president Monday.

Jeff Shirley was elected as vice president after Dave Olson declined the nomination.

Olson said he declined the position due to the time commitment and suggested Shirley be elected by the board. Olson is serving a two-year term after the board appointed him in late June to replace former board President Kay Kiefer.

Kiefer announced earlier this year that she was stepping down from the board to move out of state with her family. Olson was up for re-election on June 10, but chose not to file for candidacy.

Before longtime board member Karen Nitzkorski stepped down from the board, she lobbied for Stedman to be nominated for the president post. Stedman, a mother of three, has served on the board since 2008. Last month, she was appointed to serve a four-year term on the North Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors.

Shirley was first elected to a one-year term in 1997, then ran for election in 1998 before he left in 2004 and moved to Mapleton. In 2012, he was back in West Fargo and elected to a four-year-term.

Allan Skramstad, Shauna Vistad, Kara Gravely-Stack and Jon Erickson were elected to the four open seats on the board June 10. After an official recount, the four members were sworn into office Monday night.

Those elected to one of the seven seats on the board serve four-year terms and are paid an annual salary of $4,730.

In other school board news:

The tennis courts at Sheyenne High School have to be refinished next year, after a settlement between the school district and contractor was reached in June.

The district claimed the contractor did not properly finish the court construction after it was discovered that a construction joint was not adhering to the concrete properly, leaving at least two of the six courts unusable.

The board decided Monday night to remove the two center courts and replace them, then resurface the courts, which is estimated to cost about $170,000 to $184,000.

The school district will bid the project for construction in mid-winter.

Business manager Mark Lemer said the mediation efforts with the contractor pushed the timing of bids too late into construction season to get the project done yet this year.

“Because of the timing of the year, we’d pay a premium to get that contract installed,” Lemer said.

As part of the settlement, the contractor agreed to pay the district $108,000 for the unfinished tennis courts, but the district will likely have to dig into its general fund to pay for the entire cost of refinishing the courts.

Lemer said this is the first time the district has had a problem with a construction contract that ended with mediation. The district usually contracts with companies native to the metro area, but this company, Peterson Cos., is based in the Twin Cities.

“It does make a difference who you have on your projects,” Lemer said. “And whether or not they’ll run into you at the grocery store or not.”

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