October 4, 2020

Michael Bakotich

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictLake Shore Public Schools
City:Saint Clair Shores

How long have you lived in your district?

5 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Not yet.

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I enjoy serving my community, and I know how critical a quality education is. Serving on the board allows me to serve my community while ensuring that the children in my district receive the best possible education.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

To me it means that all students have access to the same education, no matter their socioeconomic status, race, or gender identity. All children deserve a great education. For our district that means welcoming children of all backgrounds, and ensuring that every student has a safe environment to learn.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

They would offer the best of what schools were like before the pandemic, with some of the new practices we have had to adopt during the pandemic. It would mean a return to full in person learning, but with the ability to continue school virtually for those students that are home sick or unable to attend. I would also like to see our district offer tele-medicine visits at school, so a physician is able to see and potentially diagnose a student that is sick at school, or even at home. That may help us better prevent the spread of disease at school.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Our families have many great ways to be involved, and do a lot to support our district. One way to ensure parents voices are heard might be to hold regular town hall style meetings with parents. This could be done on a school by school basis, and would allow administrators to hear directly from parents and families face to face. Students could also be given an opportunity to give their input on important decisions about their school through student surveys.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

Myself

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
The first is to ensure that our students receive the instruction to continue to grow and develop during this vastly different school year. The second is to ensure our special education students are not left behind during this school year. The third is to ensure that our teachers have the support they need to meet our students’ needs.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

The main priority is to ensure that funding remains at an adequate level to continue providing the education that our districts students and families have come to expect. While our legislature did a great job ensuring that funding remained in place to meet our needs during the pandemic, we need to ensure that continues once the pandemic is over. Without adequate funding, other priorities won’t have much of an impact.

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

One of the biggest challenges we all have faced is the uncertainty this pandemic has brought. This has not happened in our lifetime, and we are all dealing with this for the first time. We need to work together more than ever before to meet the challenge that this pandemic has brought to our children’s education. Our staff, administrators, teachers, students, and parents are working harder than ever to ensure that education continues. We must remember that we are all in this together, and we are all working toward the same goal.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Our district did a good job acting quickly to ensure that we had the supplies to open up again in the fall. We also need to ensure we have adequate staff and teachers to provide instruction and support to our online and hybrid students. Any projects or spending that does not make sense in our current online and hybrid school environment should be put on hold until after the pandemic is over.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

Standardized tests do help us assess our overall school performance, and can help our legislature determine where funding is needed across the state. However, we do need to be careful not to rely too heavily on standardized testing to provide information on our students educational progress.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

I love some of the unique programming that our district offers; such as the home design and trades courses. I would like to see other new programs like this continue to be encouraged in our district. If I could add something to our curriculum I would like to see a course dedicated to the study

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

Our own mental and emotional health is a very important. Our schools have a great opportunity to help shape our children’s mental and emotional development in a positive way. The positivity project, now in its second year, has been great at helping students be more aware of the impact of their actions. Our schools also have to opportunity to identify when students or staff may need help. I think there are also opportunities for school to have a greater role in helping those students who may need professional assistance.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

I do not believe in zero tolerance. Discipline must be implemented with the aim of educating the student and reforming their behavior. Rules and the process for discipline should be transparent, and decisions must be made on a case by case basis. I would also be open to allowing students a role in shaping the rules or participating in the disciplinary process.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

My top priority right now is to ensure our special education students get the support and education they need during this pandemic.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

One step that we can take to work toward greater equity is to listen to those whose experiences are different from ours. It is hard to fully comprehend what student life is like today, and our students should have more opportunity to share their opinions and views with administration. We also need to be mindful to include those of minority groups in sharing their views, and in reaching decisions.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I want to thank your readers for taking the time to educate themselves on those who are running for office. I hope I have earned your vote. Even if I have not, I hope that you will make your voice heard on election day.