Senate District 46
 

All candidates for this office were offered a questionnaire by The Parents’ Campaign regarding education issues.

Responses appear below. The winner of the November 8, 2011, general election is indicated below.
  
              Joe Bye      Philip Moran - WINNER     James Ken Overstreet 

Joe Bye

What is your vision for Mississippi, and how does education fit into that vision?

I would like everyone to see Mississippi as a positive place to visit and live. We must stop accepting last place or at the bottom. It starts with education. We must provide every possible avenue and most important of all fully funding education with no gap. Some of our schools score great, some do not. We need to join together and work as a team to get Mississippi to the top.

 

What do you see as the greatest challenge facing Mississippi schools and how will you address it?

Our biggest challenge is the negative thoughts about Mississippi schools. We need to make sure that there are no excuses in fully funding education. 
 

For Fiscal Year 2012, the MAEP appropriation is underfunded by $237,386,693. Assuming no more than 2% inflation, the formula would likely require about $2,365,180,600 for Fiscal Year 2014 (to be decided in the 2013 Legislative Session), about $392-million more than was appropriated for Fiscal Year 2012. Would you support getting to this full funding level in two legislative sessions? 

Absolutely. I will repeat there should be no excuses. 
 

Will you commit to closing by a significant margin the current gap between current funding and full funding of the MAEP for Fiscal Year 2013 (to be decided in the 2012 Legislative Session)? The MAEP is currently underfunded by $237,386,693.

Yes I Will be Committed to working very hard to having zero gap. Education is very important in order for Mississippi to grow. 

 

The following issues are very important to the 60,000 members of The Parents’ Campaign. Frequently throughout the year, we get calls and emails regarding these topics, and many of the questions submitted for this questionnaire were about funding for these specific areas.Where do these fit into your funding priorities, and how would you, as a legislator, address them?

• National Board Certification Program Stipend/National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT)

Absolutely. I will work hard on full funding.
 
• Vocational Education
Absolutely. I will work hard on full funding.

• Gifted Education
Absolutely. I will work hard on full funding.

• Special Education
Absolutely. I will work hard on full funding.
 

• Education Enhancement/Teacher Supply Fund (EEF)

Absolutely we have to fund this. Without tools and supplies how can we properly teach to the best of our ability.

 

• Teacher Salaries

I would like to see an increase because a majority of students today change their careers because of salaries or choose to teach in other states, but also we need to hold them accountable. 
 

• Chickasaw Cession Payments

Absolutely. I will work hard on full funding.
 

• The Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)

Absolutely support.

 

How can Mississippi get creative to ensure sufficient revenue to fully fund education and other vital state services?

We need to run our budget like a small business man. Spend where it is important and don't spend where it is not. I believe the funds are there and would like to make sure that we as a state check all road side vendors, special events (not fund raisers) are paying their taxes. We lose a lot of tax dollars from out of state and in state road side vendors.
 

In Mississippi, some local school superintendents are elected rather than being appointed by their boards. Would you support or oppose a phase-out of elected superintendents, moving to appointment as incumbent elected superintendents retire or leave their positions?

I would be open to hear arguments on both sides. I would want what is best for our schools in this matter.
 

What would you do to address Mississippi’s teacher shortage?

I believe we need to raise entry level salaries, promote Mississippi inside and outside the state, and maybe some incentives for teachers to move to some of our areas.
 
What steps should be taken to improve the quality of teaching in Mississippi?
We need to give back control to our teachers so they can teach. Updating training courses and most all make sure our classrooms are not overloaded.
 

What steps should be taken to improve the overall quality of Mississippi school leaders?

We need to be competitive in salaries basing it on years of experience, training and education. They need to be accountable for their failures and awarded for their success. 
 

Would you support state funding for a statewide non-compulsory early childhood education program? If yes, what is your plan for getting state funding for early education? If no, why are you opposed to state funding for early education?

Absolutely support. Children learn and form habits at early ages. This program is a must. I think that the money is there and I also have other ideas of how to help the budget even more such as advertising tourism for our coast outside the state.


Philip Moran - WINNER
What is your vision for Mississippi, and how does education fit into that vision?
My vision for Mississippi is to tap into the jewel of the south we have here in Mississippi. We need to promote growth in industry as well as small business and enhance our education system in order to keep our children home working in Mississippi.
 
What do you see as the greatest challenge facing Mississippi schools and how will you address it?
At this particular time in our state adequately funding education is the greatest challenge facing our Mississippi schools. Adequately funding our educational system will be a top priority in my senatorial service, fighting for this during the legislative sessions.
 
For Fiscal Year 2012, the MAEP appropriation is underfunded by $237,386,693. Assuming no more than 2% inflation, the formula would likely require about $2,365,180,600 for Fiscal Year 2014 (to be decided in the 2013 Legislative Session), about $392-million more than was appropriated for Fiscal Year 2012. Would you support getting to this full funding level in two legislative sessions? 

Yes, working with all legislators throughout the state to accomplish this goal.

Will you commit to closing by a significant margin the current gap between current funding and full funding of the MAEP for Fiscal Year 2013 (to be decided in the 2012 Legislative Session)? The MAEP is currently underfunded by $237,386,693.
Yes, again cooperation within our legislature must be met to accomplish these goals.

The following issues are very important to the 60,000 members of The Parents’ Campaign. Frequently throughout the year, we get calls and emails regarding these topics, and many of the questions submitted for this questionnaire were about funding for these specific areas. Where do these fit into your funding priorities, and how would you, as a legislator, address them?
• National Board Certification Program Stipend/National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT)
This will be a priority to ensure the level of quality teacher needed in our schools.
 
• Vocational Education
This will also be a priority to fund to ensure that we prepare all students to enter the working world.
 
• Gifted Education
These will also be considered a priority in that they are vital to those students who qualify.
 
• Special Education
These will also be considered a priority in that they are vital to those students who qualify.
 
• Education Enhancement/Teacher Supply Fund (EEF)
When adequately funding education this will be there to enhance the teacher’s ability to provide for the student in the classroom setting.
 
• Teacher Salaries
These salaries must be looked at to bring to the South Eastern Average at a minimum to attract and keep quality teachers.
  
• Chickasaw Cession Payments
This will need to be reviewed to determine how much and what is appropriate to meet this obligation.

The Public Employee Retirement System (PERS)
Priority must be given to assure that the system is attractive to those seeking state employment to attract quality applicants.
 
How can Mississippi get creative to ensure sufficient revenue to fully fund education and other vital state services?
We need to entice more business/industry to Mississippi to increase the tax base and try to earmark certain revenue - such as gaming- for education to regular contributions of revenue specifically for education. There is also the possibility of a state wide lottery, specifically earmarked for education.  
 
In Mississippi, some local school superintendents are elected rather than being appointed by their boards. Would you support or oppose a phase-out of elected superintendents, moving to appointment as incumbent elected superintendents retire or leave their positions?
I would support appointment of superintendents to try to remove the political aspect of the position. This could also promote more innovative ideas from other areas of the state/country to improve our educational system.

What would you do to address Mississippi’s teacher shortage?
We need to look closely at making the profession more realistic for those quality students by bringing the teacher salaries to at least the South Eastern Average, thus maybe not having to rely so heavily on Alternative Route teachers.

What steps should be taken to improve the quality of teaching in Mississippi?
a) Secondary schools should be working toward recruitment and retention of quality students in the education field.
b) The State Board of Education should be looking at state requirements to increase rigor for degree and certification requirements to turn out leaders of higher quality. 

What steps should be taken to improve the overall quality of Mississippi school leaders?

Working with the State Board of Education, there should be an evaluation of our school leaders’ requirements and raise the level of quality and professionalism required to increase the quality of our school leaders.

Would you support state funding for a statewide non-compulsory early childhood education program? If yes, what is your plan for getting state funding for early education? If no, why are you opposed to state funding for early education?
We need to look at community programs such as Excel by 5, which is funded by a private corporation - This program is preparing children to enter the school system by age 5. If we can work with private sectors to at least partially fund such programs, it could be a win, win situation. However, close scrutiny would need to be given to these types of programs to ensure their effectiveness.
 
 
James Ken Overstreet
NO RESPONSE 


 
 
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Click here for an explanation
of the 2006 MAEP vote.