Senate District 31: 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 daughter, son and myself attended public schools. I have donated and volunteered countless hours thru my business to our local public schools to improve existing facilities as well as build new structures on campus. I have also worked within the public school system as a substitute teacher and volunteered as well in the classroom to assist the career/trade classes. While doing so, this is when I realized we had a serious funding issue within our public school system.
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, Fight to fully fund MAEP by working across the isle to gain bipartisan support.
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? Fight to provide a foundation for economic growth and stability. We do this by fully funding our public education system. 90% of future work force attend public schools. Fix our infrastructure and improve our access to rural health care. When major manufacturing companies look to build/expand in a state these are three areas of most concern. They have to have a skilled and educated work force, an up to date infrastructure and access to quality healthcare.
4. Will you oppose vouchers that send taxpayer dollars to private schools, religious schools, home schools, or virtual schools? Why or why not? Yes, As stated previously 90% of our kids attend public schools, the schools mentioned above are not held to same standard and the main reason we have to insure our tax dollars go to fully fund MAEP.
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, MAEP if fully funded addresses this issue.
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? There is no quick solution to this issue. Legislators have as they say kicked the can down the road for so many years we have a whole generation that has to be redirected to a new mindset/culture change. I believe to correct this issue we have to start with our children by providing them all the resources needed to become responsible educated citizens. We have to make that investment.
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, I have several contacts that are either teachers or administrators within the educational system that I can call on at anytime to converse with.
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 respond by standing by my constituents.