As a member of the Manatee County School Board during many years of budget cuts and difficult decisions, Bob Gause remains resolute about education and student achievement. First elected in 2006, he previously served the school district in several volunteer positions at Palmetto High School.
A partner in a Bradenton civil engineering firm, Gause has spent almost three decades working with clients in a team environment to develop the vision vital to achieving a project's budget, schedule and goal.
He emphasizes similar teamwork among board members and the superintendent, all toward the establishment of a vision for the future and aligning the budget with priorities.
Linda Schaich, his challenger in this nonpartisan race for the District 4 seat on the board, also holds deep experience in the business world and has served the school system on several committees, primarily on money matters. She owned and operated five John Deere dealerships and equipment rentals centers in Southern California for more than two decades, and she has expertise in the federal tax code.
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Both are strong candidates for this school board seat. Gause's accomplishments over the past few years are commendable and merit his re-election.
For instance, he led the district's effort to change an inequitable state system for funding technical schools, which had been robbing Manatee Technical Institute of millions that would have provided classroom resources.
Gause lobbied lawmakers here and in Tallahassee, finally convincing the Legislature to rewrite the standards last year. Manatee students are now reaping the benefits of his work.
After building those legislative relationships, Gause intends to continue working on educational issues at that level.
Also during his tenure, the district expanded the popular International Baccalaureate program into elementary and middle schools, and launched a variety of smaller learning communities in high schools, primarily aimed at preparing students with the skills for specific careers.
Gause hopes to expand career education programs for students who do not intend to enter college, an effort that will help provide employers with more knowledgeable and skilled workers.
Looking ahead, he wants to change the compensation structure to reward the best teaching and improve district morale by enhancing communication and providing stronger support and appreciation for teachers -- vital goals in light of the district's recent difficulties in both areas.
He also proposes putting additional resources into kindergarten, first and second grades in order to ensure students perform at grade level and do not require costly remedial classes as they grow older.
We find this very important as research shows early education is critical to later success not only in school but beyond.
Plus, as Gause hopes, the money saved from fewer remedial classes could be spent on more opportunities for higher-achieving students who are underserved.
We also support his view of a school board's function, which is establishing a vision and structure for the district without micromanagement. The latter can divide and cripple a board.
The Herald Editorial Board believes Gause is the best candidate in this race. His teamwork and leadership skills and board experience will be valuable as the district moves past some tough years.
We recommend Bob Gause for District 4, School Board of Manatee County.
Candidates who do not receive the Herald Editorial Board's endorsement are invited to submit a response of up to 300 words by 5 p.m. the day after the endorsement appears in print. Those can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to 745-7047.
View candidate forums
Several weeks ago, The Herald, in partnership with Manatee Educational Television, videotaped candidate forums in these contested races.
These forums can be viewed on www.bradenton.com on the "Recent Multimedia" page. METV is also regularly airing all the forums, and the station can be viewed on Brighthouse channel 614, Verizon FIOS 31 and Comcast 19. For METV airtimes, visit www.metvweb.com.