Candidate Q&A: House District 87

Special Election 2020

Our public education questionnaire was offered to legislative candidates in the November 3 special election for House District 87. Search for candidates’ questionnaire responses below.

Matthew Conoly  ●  David Morgan  ●  Joseph “Bubba” Tubb (WINNER of October 13 runoff)

Matthew Conoly

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? I have been a high school and junior high social studies teacher for 8 years.

2. Do you agree that the Mississippi Adequate Education Program (MAEP) should be fully funded every year? If yes, what actions will you take to ensure full funding? If no, explain why. See https://tpcref.org/mississippi-adequate-education-program-maep/ for information. The MAEP is the funding mechanism for our state’s public schools. Yes, improving education in our state is a focal point of my campaign.

3. What will you do to ensure state revenue that is sufficient to provide all of the services Mississippi’s citizens need to lead productive lives? I wish to extend the scope of trade skill, vocational and technical education in our public schools in order to provide more opportunity to our student body.

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? I am open to debate on this issue. I feel that competition is a great way to ensure efficiency and productivity. And while we must make sure that public education is always a viable and improving option, there are some areas of the state where public schooling is a below average option.

5. Do you agree that all K-12 schools that receive taxpayer dollars, including private voucher schools, should be accountable to taxpayers for the quality of education they provide, using the same accountability measures as public schools? Accountability is important for all entities associated with education: administration, educators, students, and parents. But putting private schools under the same regulation as public schools takes the very thing that makes private schooling a preferable option for many.

6. Public schools serve the vast majority of Mississippi students with disabilities. Do you agree that special education services in public schools should be fully funded every year? (Special education has been underfunded by the state every year since 2008.) If yes, how will you accomplish full funding? If no, explain why. Public schools must be fully funded, but there must also be more accountability for the way in which those funds are used. More efficient use of funding will produce better results than simply increasing funding for various programs that do not meet their goals in a productive way.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? If the funding is available, this is something I will be willing to debate.

8. The nation’s top teachers say that the greatest barriers to school success for K-12 students are family stress, poverty, and learning and psychological problems. What steps do you believe legislators should take to alleviate these obstacles for Mississippi children? Providing better avenues for scholastic success and involvement through broadened vocational and trade skill programs will help these issues by creating the opportunity for people to independent and economically successful. In turn, these improvements in personal outcome will lead to better family dynamics, fewer psychological issues and decreased poverty.

9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? As with any form of employment, if you want more productive and able workers, there must be improved pay and/or benefits.

10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature? I think it should be considered.

11. Legislators have little or no staff to help them understand the many bills they must consider. Before introducing or supporting a bill that could affect public education, will you commit to seeking input from teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents of public school students in your district? Who will be advising you on education policies? I am an educator. But I will also seek guidance and input from fellow educators and administrators.

12. In the past, legislators have received tremendous pressure from the leaders of their chamber (House or Senate), state and party leaders, and corporate lobbyists, to vote in ways that could contradict the will of their constituents and harm their communities. How would you respond to such pressure? I am running to be a representative, not a politician. I feel that responding to the needs of one’s constituents is the job of a legislator.

David Morgan

Joseph "Bubba" Tubb

(WINNER of October 13 runoff)

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