MANATEE Linda Schaich, a community activist who has been frequently critical of the school board and administration, filed Tuesday to challenge Bob Gause for the District 4 school board seat.
Schaich, who speaks regularly during public comments at board meetings, said she was inspired to run for school board because of her experience volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club.
She said she wants to help the board “stop the fighting and backbiting and get their finances straightened out.”
“On the school board, there are always 3-2 votes,” she said. “We need to get people that can work together rather than be adversarial all the time.”
Schaich said Julie Aranibar and Karen Carpenter, the two newest school board members, are regularly on the losing end of those split votes. “Julie and Karen want
to change the status quo, and the other three don’t want to change it,” she said.
When asked if her goal was to shift the board’s power to Carpenter and Aranibar, Schaich said she would likely not agree with the two all the time. For example, she said, the board’s unanimous approval of new bylaws for the Manatee Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks additional funding sources and administers innovative education programs, is something she would have voted against.
Schaich said among her key topics will be something she’s been advocating for the past two years: continuing reductions in the school district’s administrative spending. She also would press for a review of the district’s International Baccaleureate program, a rigorous program of study that emphasizes time management and international studies.
“We have a lot of different programs going on,” Schaich said. “Each program needs to be evaluated and some need to be eliminated.”
Schaich’s experience includes 20 years running a John Deere dealership and equipment rental company; several years volunteering for an education foundation in San Marcos, Calif., and volunteer work at not only the Boys and Girls Club, but also Pelican Man’s Bird Sanctuary and Mote Marine Laboratory.
Gause refused to comment on his new opponent. But he announced Wednesday the kickoff of his re-election campaign with a March 15 evening reception at Palmetto’s Norma Rae’s restaurant.
Christine Hawes, Herald education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081.