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Election 2019: Candidate Q&A SD12 - The Parents Campaign

Senate District 12: 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.

General Election Candidates:   Paul Pecou   /   Derrick Simmons  WINNER

 Paul Pecou

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? My children currently attend public school and 2 have graduated from public school. My wife and I both attended public schools as well.

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 it should. First we have to fund it with average daily enrollment rather than average daily attendance. Secondly stop giving contracts to companies with ties to the legislature without open bidding.

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 need more controlled spending.

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 will oppose it. Private schools pay a tuition they should have to use that for their personal use. State money should be used for public education only.

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? Most definitely. It’s Mississippi taxpayers funds. If you use taxpayers funds every dime should be 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. There is no reason why all aspects of public schools should not be funded, except the fact our legislature cares not about it. Most of their children attend private school.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Of course. Early development is the ground work for better education.

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 a program in the public school system to assist children whose parents are not involved with their child’s education.

9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? My daughter in law is a public school teacher. That being said our teachers are the least paid in the nation. We must at minimum bring them to a median income for the nation.

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 they have earned that right.

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 have already begun speaking with those individuals. Their input into the education system should be our top priority.

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 am an Independent. I have no party to answer to, only the citizens of this state and my District.

 

 Derrick Simmons (Incumbent)     WINNER

» See Voting Record

1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family? Proud graduate and supporter. 

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. Full funding is essential.

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? Advocate for full funding of public schools and oppose efforts that divert those funds. 

4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes.

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.

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.

7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide? Yes.

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? Fully fund schools to provide services to alleviate these concerns. 

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? Yes.

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.

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 will ignore leadership and corporate interests and vote my conviction and the will of my district.

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