House of Representatives District 38: 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 am a former school teacher and a mother of a public school graduate.
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. Yes, support and sponsor all measures that will create and or reward funds for Mississippi Public schools.
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? Support economic development measures that are producers of tax revenue and creators of jobs in our state.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes, I do not and will not support sending our state tax dollars to any private or charter schools. These monies should only be used for public school education. It was sad that many legislators didn’t read their bill packets and voted to provide $2M of taxpayer monies for private school this legislative session (2019).
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, the same standards and regulations should be bestowed on any and all entities that receive state funds.
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. I will push for any measure that will appropriate funds for special education in Mississippi. I want to sponsor a piece of legislation with a friend if I am elected to secure funding for special education.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Yes, this is imperative. I also believe that our state should stop funding monies to privately owned / family operated childcare centers/after school programs that operate without any oversight. There is usually no accountability for these centers. In many instances, they are non-profit and operate without a governing board which is required by federal law if they operate as a 501c3.
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? Create programs that will monitor at risk children in all Mississippi schools.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? Yes, our teachers and assistants along with so many other state employees are under payed.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature? No, I am not supportive of this at this present time.
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? Absolutely, I welcome this gesture that someone with expertise in a subject would be willing to assist me.
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? In my previous role as an alderwoman I never took a donation nor any other gift that would compromise how I need to vote on a matter. Pay for your own food and your hotel room and you can vote for what is in the best interest of your constituents. I always fondly say “I am not for sale and am too old to go to jail for foolishness.”