House of Representatives District 58: 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? My mother is a career public school educator. I also attended public schools.
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. I believe MS should fund its public schools at the pace of its neighboring states, whether that’s MAEP or another funding program.
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? Solid economic development in MS will ensure MS remains profitable and able to take care of essential government services.
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’m opposed to anything that will take away funding from public schools.
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? Absolutely!
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. Yes, these students deserve everything MS can give them.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? I’d like to do everything I can to encourage this to happen in MS. I’ve read the research and know it works!
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? This is a huge problem in MS that we all need to look at more closely. I’m not sure of the exact answer, but something needs to be done.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? YES!
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature? State employees drawing PERS should be allowed to come back at any time, while continuing to draw their full benefit.
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 will absolutely seek professional advice on education policies.
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? I don’t get pressured, I apply pressure.