House of Representatives District 105: Candidate Q&A
Candidates for this office were offered a questionnaire on education issues by The Parents’ Campaign. See below for responses received to date.
1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? I have over 30 years of experience as a Father, Teacher, Administrator, and Principal in our K-12 education system here in Mississippi.
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. Funding MAEP is the law. We need to fully fund MAEP every year to financially support our children and our schools. MAEP needs to be funded every year. Period.
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? We have adequate revenue streams to fully fund MAEP and take care of our citizens’ basic needs. We must prioritize funding for all education, infrastructure, healthcare and not impose unfunded mandates on our schools, cities, and county governments.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes. We do not need to take funding away from public schools to support these other non-public institutions.
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? Yes. School districts and individual schools need to be held accountable.
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. Special Education, along with CTE education , needs to be fully funded every year. We can give special education vouchers, but not fully fund special education? We can fully fund both special education and CTE programs with good fiscal management skills.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Yes. A good early education program would be so beneficial to the children of our state. We could leverage federal and state funds to possibly do this.
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? We need more counselors and social workers in our schools. Folks on the ground that can help with these issues.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? Yes. Raise teachers’ pay to the Southeastern average incrementally over 3-5 years.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature? Yes. I, if so honored to be elected, will be one doing this. Why should we not allow one of the most educated parts of our populace to serve in the Legislature? Education is the key to our success as a state.
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? Yes, Yes, and Yes! I will seek the advice of teachers, administrators, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, etc. All school district staff in my 3 county area. I am already acquainted with the majority of them.
12. Legislators receive tremendous pressure from the leaders of their chamber (House or Senate), state and party leaders, and corporate lobbyists, to vote in ways that may contradict the will of their constituents and harm their communities. How will you respond to this pressure? You must stand on your values and your constituents’ values and let them know BEFORE you vote on an important issue. Legislators are accountable to their constituents.