Michael Gaudet


Michael Gaudet

Political Party Republican
Campaign Website: https://electmikegaudet.com/
Candidate Bio:

In a runoff with Cathy Carmichael


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.
I support the creation of a separate school district for St. George.
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 Disagree
The school district should have the authority to mandate vaccines for children in public schools.
The school district should provide curriculum that is sensitive to race, gender, and culture.
Recess time should be required in both elementary AND middle schools.


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?

My wife and I attended public schools, my mother and father were pubic school teachers and my father was a public school principal. My children attended religious affiliated schools as do my grandchildren. I have been on the EBR School Board since 2017. I believe through my personal experience I have added a focus on strategic planning and execution.

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?

I support good schools for all students in Baton Rouge. A good operator with a solid record of achievement is my main criteria. Currently our budget is balanced and I intend to keep it that way. I believe in competition and I don’t think that it is inevitable that charter schools will always win student enrollment. I believe with our new Superintendent and a willingness to change and meet the needs of students, the EBRPS System can successfully compete with charter schools in the future.

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?

I don’t think “one” strategy is sufficient to address this nationwide problem. Some of the actions we have taken as a Board are: incentive pay for service through the pandemic; new hire incentive pay; commissioned a full salary review of all positions within EBRPS; committed to an 8% across the board salary increase (except high paid employees); working with Southern University to establish a Focus Choice pathway or school for those wishing to enter the teaching profession, tentatively by next year; working on a similar program with LSU.

Other strategies under direct control of the Superintendent include more and better focused professional development for the staff, advisory committees of teachers and staff to provide feedback, improved communications to employees (and the public), improved customer service (both employees and public) by the district, etc.

Salaries are not the only areas that need improvement to increase hiring and retention.

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?

My main criteria is that the project contributes to the industrial base of our economy providing long term foundations for the viability of our city and district. That is the way to insure the long term financial stability of our school system.

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

#4. I strongly agree that poverty levels impact student achievement but I believe that we must view that as an obstacle to overcome instead of a reason for lower outcomes. A student deserves nothing less just because he/she is poor. I do strongly believe that student progress should be a major component of school performance scores.
#5. I believe that vaccines that have long term histories of safety and effectiveness should be mandatory (like measles, small pox, polio, etc.). While I strongly recommend (and have taken) Covid 19 vaccines, I don’t support making them mandatory at this time.
#6. While I generally support such curriculum, the details of a specific curriculum are very important. Also, reasonable people differ greatly on what is considered sensitive to race, gender, and culture.
#7. I believe recess time is necessary for elementary school. I believe free time is necessary for middle school, but that may differ from defined “recess” time.

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