Senate District 28: 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? Parent, former school board member (JPS), current school advisory board member (high school), current school mentoring program (middle school).
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. Introduce legislation supporting the same.
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? Never support tax cuts for corporations.
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 think public dollars are to support public interest.
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 and the same across the board standards.
6. Public schools serve the vast majority of Mississippi students with disabilities. Do you agree that public school special education services should be fully funded every year? (Special education has been underfunded by the state annually since 2008.) If yes, how will you accomplish full funding? If no, explain why. Yes, reallocate some of the funding set aside for testing or unnecessary or meaningless testing.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high-quality early childhood education statewide? Yes, requirement.
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? Engage public school educators/administrators and allow flexibility in line item budgets to address specific needs across the state.
9. Do you support raising teacher salaries at least to the level of our neighboring states and raising pay for teacher assistants? Yes and develop a plan to keep up with the regional average.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their state retirement while serving in the Legislature? Yes. This will allow maximum engagement from some of the states’ most talented professionals.
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. Currently engaging these professionals.
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 always vote the interest of my constituents and my core beliefs.