Cathy Carmichael

CathyCarmichael

Cathy Carmichael

Jurisdiction:
Political Party Democrat
Campaign Website: https://www.cathycarmichael.com/
Candidate Bio:

In a runoff with Michael Gaudet

SURVEY RESPONSES

Ranked Statements
___________________________

I support programs that replace traditional and/or remedial courses with advanced and/or college level courses in our district.
Strongly Agree
I believe that the racial demographics of the school districts should equitably represent the population of Baton Rouge.
Strongly Agree
I support the creation of a separate school district for St. George.
Strongly Disagree
Family poverty levels affect student test scores, therefore we need a system that takes overall school poverty level into account in order to give a more accurate measure of student performance.
Strongly Agree
The school district should have the authority to mandate vaccines for children in public schools.
Strongly Agree
The school district should provide curriculum that is sensitive to race, gender, and culture.
Strongly Agree
Recess time should be required in both elementary AND middle schools.
Strongly Agree

 

Short-answer Questions
___________________________

What is your relationship with the public school system? (Did you attend, did/are your children/grandchildren attend(ing)). Have you attended school board meetings in the past? How would your presence improve the board?

I attended public schools from kindergarten all the way through university. All three of my children are current EBR public school students. I served four terms as a PTO President, lead numerous fundraising efforts for new school equipment, and continue to serve as an active volunteer. I have attended most EBR school board meetings over the last two years. At those meetings, I make my voice heard during the public comment period.

I want to bring a different perspective to the School Board. I am a frontline stakeholder. I would improve the board by holding my fellow board members and the Superintendent accountable for actions that prevent our schoolchildren from thriving.

Do you support the creation of more charter schools in Baton Rouge? What criteria would you use to determine whether to approve them? What solution would you propose to address the growing budget deficits as charters receive more dedicated funds from the general budget?

Baton Rouge is super-saturated with charter schools that duplicate education environments already provided by traditional public schools. The growth of charters has undermined local public schools and communities without producing any overall increase in student learning and growth. Charter schools have opaque finances, making it hard to tell how our tax dollars are being spent. Most worryingly, charter schools are not accountable to the EBRPSS school board or Superintendent. If a parent or student has a serious problem with their charter school, they may not have a democratically elected official that they can call on for help.

I believe that any newly proposed charter school demonstrate two things: 1. that it is filling a unique educational niche that EBRPSS is ill-equipped to fill, and 2. that filling this niche will enhance educational outcomes for a group of currently underserved students.

What role does a school board member play in addressing the local challenges concerning teacher retention and hiring? How will you address the district’s teacher shortage?

The first thing we need to do is stop calling this crisis a “teacher shortage.” We do not have a “teacher shortage.” What we have is a shortage of respect, dignity, support, and pay for teachers. All the problems we have recruiting and retaining teachers flows from that. EBRPSS teacher pay has been appallingly low for decades. Even before the pandemic, they had a huge and stressful workload; then COVID forced them to re-make their entire profession over and over again and deal with a host of additional stressors. Teachers had to endure forced reassignment to different schools and divisive stipends that pitted teachers against support staff.

As a school board member I would advocate for reversing the Superintendent’s many mistakes that have led to an exodus of teachers. They need fair pay, support, resources and time for planning at a time of extraordinary educational needs in Baton Rouge.

The Industrial Tax Exemption Program gives exemption of property tax to industry. What is your criteria for approving or denying ITEP exemptions for the school board portion of the tax?

The EBR School Board has been stuck on a ridiculous ITEP merry-go-round for many years. A big business hints that if it doesn’t receive an ITEP exemption, it won’t go through with its proposed job-creating business enhancement, thus putting pressure on school boards to approve every exemption for the sake of job creation. Every time an ITEP exemption is granted, public schools lose out on the tax revenue that they need to function. Enough is enough. ITEP exemptions should not be an everyday occurrence. They should be exceptional, and should only be granted when the project is truly transformational. We need to start thinking in this kind of long-term fashion and get out of our narrow-minded, “jobs vs. schools” mentality currently governing individual ITEP requests.

Would you like to clarify any of your ranked choice responses?

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