Jay Guillot

A member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has missed seven of the past nine board and committee meetings he chairs since June, according to state records.

Jay Guillot, an engineer who lives in Ruston, missed gatherings of the full board on June 18, July 1, July 29, Aug. 13 and Dec. 3, BESE figures show.

Guillot also missed meetings of the Administration and Finance Committee that he chairs on Aug. 12 and Dec. 2.

The committee has budgetary oversight of BESE, the state Department of Education, the Recovery School District and others.

BESE, which sets policies for about 700,000 public school students statewide, generally meets every other month.

Committee hearings usually dominate the first day and the full, 11-member board meets the following day.

Two of the sessions that Guillot missed — July 1 and July 29 — were special board meetings triggered by the controversy over Common Core.

Guillot also has missed one of three meetings since September of a special task force he chairs that is reviewing the way public schools are financed.

Guillot said in a telephone interview on Thursday that business travel is the reason for his absences. “I have not missed a meeting until this summer,” he said.

“And I even chaired the task force last year, five extra meetings, and attended every one of them and been to every board meeting until this summer, when my business required me to be out of state,” he said.

Guillot said BESE President Chas Roemer has filled in for him on committee and task force meetings.

He said he has talked to Roemer “and made him aware of my situation.”

Guillot said he also has been involved “behind the scenes” in state school board issues.

Roemer said he is aware of why Guillot has missed meetings but had no further talks beyond that.

Guillot said he has no plans to resign and has not decided whether to seek re-election next year.

He is one of eight elected members of BESE. Three others are named by the governor.

Guillot represents BESE District 5 in northeast Louisiana. He was elected in 2011 with the backing of Gov. Bobby Jindal, ousting incumbent Keith Guice.

BESE members do not receive a salary. They can collect a daily allowance and seek reimbursement for travel expenses.

Guillot is generally considered part of a seven- or eight-member bloc on the board that favors major changes in public schools.

In 2012, he sought guidance from the Louisiana Board of Ethics about his firm taking part in a program run through the labor department. Ethics officials said the work could continue.

Earlier this year, state Rep. Rob Shadoin, R-Ruston, said ethics rules needed to be tweaked because they were having a “killing effect” on the businesses of some BESE members.

The proposal, which failed to win final approval, would have allowed BESE members to do business with the state.