School Board Questionnaire Responses – LIVE Forum October 23, 2018

Candidates Answer Questions

The A+ Coalition, an initiative of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, mailed the following questions to each School Board candidate on October 4 with a deadline to reply of October 18. Of the 23 candidates running, 13 submitted responses to the questionnaire. Of the ten who did not reply, two are running unopposed. You can view each candidate’s response below.

The intent was to provide the public with relevant information to help inform their vote in time for early voting, October 23 – 30 (excluding Sunday 28), and on Election Day, November 6, 2018.

  1. What experience do you have with complicated budgets? When you are given a very lengthy budget for the district, what will be your process to determine if it is a good budget for the system?
  2. In an era of more limited financial resources, how will you enlist support for bond issues or public-school spending from conservative voters or taxpayers with no children in the public schools? How can the school board prove itself accountable to those citizens?
  3. In your view, what has the district done well over last five years? What has the district done poorly that you would change? Please provide specific examples.
  4. You represent a specific part of Natchitoches Parish—how will you balance the needs of your specific constituents with the needs of the overall school district?
  5. If a parent or a principal comes to you regarding, for example, a maintenance issue at a campus or a situation involving a particular teacher, how do you see your role as a school board member in resolving that issue?
  6. Consider the goals of the A+ Coalition, listed on the attached cover letter; do you believe those are achievable goals? Why or why not?  Are any of particular importance to you?  Why?

The Chamber does not endorse any candidates but does support policies that align with A+ Coalition Goals, outlined below. By the end of the 2025-2026 school year:

  • Zero C, D or F schools in the district
  • 50% mastery or better on 3-8 assessments
  • More than 50% of students should graduate with some form of dual enrollment credit
  • District ACT score ≥ 21
  • 95% graduation rate

District 1
Rhonda E. Guidroz – School-Board-Candidate-Questionnaire-Rhonda-Guidroz
Carla Rachal – Did Not Respond

District 2
Thurman J. Baptiste Sr. – Did Not Respond
Harry Graham – Did Not Respond
Bernard “B.J.” Johnson – Did Not Respond
Tan’Keia Palmer – Did Not Respond

District 3
Katrina Demars – School-Board-Candidate-Questionnaire-Katrina-Demars
Dorthy McGaskey – Did Not Respond-  District 3 – McGaskey – Received 10/22/18

District 4
Billy Joe Benefield Jr. – Billy-Benefield-A-Coalition
“Phil” Brown – A-Plus-Coalition-Questionnaire-Brown

District 5
Katrina Fowler Willis – Unopposed/Did Not Respond

District 6
“Reba” Phelps – Questionnaire-Phelps
Elvin L. Shields – Did Not Respond

District 7
Willis Eugean Garner – Coalitions-Questions-Garner
Kendria Sanders – aplusE-Kendria-Sanders

District 8
“Tom” Collier – tom-collier-1
Steven “Steve” Harris – Steven-Harris

District 9
Shelby Borders – Did Not Respond –  District 9 – Borders – Received 10/23/18
Beverly J. Broadway – A-plus-coalition-response-Beverly-Broadway
Carroll E. Daniels – School-Board-Candidate-Questionnaire-Carroll-Daniels

District 10
Russell “Russ” Danzy – Unopposed/Did Not Respond

District 11
“Jed” Cain – Jed-Cain-District-11-2018-A-School-Board-Candidate-Questionnaire
Emile E. Metoyer Sr. – School-Board-Candidate-Questionnaire-Emile-Metoyer

For more information about the A+ Coalition and how you can get involved, visit

The A+ Coalition will hold a School Board Candidate Forum, to take place at the Natchitoches Arts Center Building at 716 2nd Street on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6 pm. Candidates will each be given three minutes to speak.

The Forum will be live streamed on the Natchitoches Parish Journal.

12 thoughts on “School Board Questionnaire Responses – LIVE Forum October 23, 2018

  1. You haven’t seen insanity yet…..this will be remembered as the good old days for the Natchitoches school system before it’s over.

  2. I have said before to do similar to Texas: School Board members are elected by the public, but are NOT PAID. It is an honorary position that people desire because they want good schools! Also, there is no tenure for teachers/administrators because it isn’t necessary; it omits the politics that we have in our system. One either does a good job or their contract is not renewed. Our system is better in other ways, however, such as the Parish system instead of independent school districts throughout the county.

    This is my opinion. (I taught in NPS for nearly 40 years and never thought about having a special member or in my “ward.” If I had a question I simply called one not thinking about the area he served. I assumed they served all! I hope they remember they are serving the students and parents— and not selfishly themselves as a political candidate.) So you may disagree!

  3. I just want to thank the Journal for providing this information. I’d like to see such information available in all elections, from local, to statewide, at least. On Constitutional Amendments, which I know the Journal provided, but I couldn’t get the link to work. And on other issues Natchitoches voters have the opportunity to vote on. Might be a tall task, but it is important. Anyway, thanks to The NPJ for this.

  4. I like the way many have responded as if there are unlimited funds for fixing all of the problems, sounds kinda like the Parish roads delimma. At any rate, their responses on hiring more certified teachers is laudable but when Desoto Parish has trouble hiring certified teachers in spite of the fact that they have the highest teacher pay in the State some obviously have not been paying attention. Also how do any of these candidates propose to keep schools open in the face of declining enrollment? Truth is you can’t. Finally the school system is for educating children not for a jobs program.

  5. Term limits should be the rule of thumb for all elected positions in our system of government in this democratic country that we live in. People who stay in office for excessive periods of time become stagnant in their thoughts and behaviors; do not grow their leadership skills; and become very easily persuaded by special interests and other controlling entities in our society whose only interest is to control, dominate, and stifle new and innovative ideas for growth and development, only to serve selfish interests. Lack of term limits in many of our political institutions is why our country is so divided and dead in the water.

    It is very refreshing that we in Natchitoches Parish have an opportunity to practically make a clean sweep of the School Board and elect a slate of new members with fresh leadership potential.

    Once this election is completed, I would challenge the next School Board to consider downsizing the Board to no more than 7 members. The current districting system is very convoluted and were drawn years ago to favor certain neighborhoods and maintain the old ideals of “separate but equal” discriminatory practices. The best model to use for forming districts is the U.S. Postal Zip Code system that is based on where people live; not on some artificial set up to placate favorites or a political power grab. Gerrymandering is slowing going to be outlawed and stricken down as unconstitutional in the United States of America. There is nothing wrong with Natchitoches Parish School Board being pro active and making a change now.

    The alternative to the above would be to dissolve districts and elect a Board (no more than 7) on an at large basis. This would eliminate one district being favored over another or districts being in competition with one another for resources, etc. All members would thus run to serve all the citizens and students of Natchitoches Parish and not be narrowly driven by certain district boundaries. This would produce more fairness and produce more and stronger candidates with the backgrounds needed to be effective and efficient Board Members.

  6. For God’s sake vote out Carol Daniel’s. He is making a killing off the system. He has sat on his lazy ass and allowed this system to go to the dogs. I cant think of anyone who has used the system more than him. From tax payers paying for a trip to Canada where she broke her leg. She had to flown to New York to set her leg before she returned. What a joke! He and his wife draws retirement, and he is a principal in Red River Parish and a board member.

  7. Some choice in district 4. One is a know it all (at least in his mind) damn yankee and a former board member who, used his position to get his wife a principals position and cost the system 160 thousand dollars for violation of hiring policy (Superintendent Durwood Duke)

  8. Every candidate, including those unopposed, that failed to respond to the coalition’s questions should NOT receive a single vote. Despicable!

    • Agreed! If you can’t be bothered to answer a questionnaire, you probably won’t be bothered to do much else.

  9. So one candidate believes in term limits but is running again after being out of office. I guess “term limits” means different things to different people. I fail to see how the candidate deserves another chance at effecting change when they already had the chance. SMH.

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