1. What is your experience with K-12 public schools, personally and/or with your children or family?
I was educated in the public school system as well as my wife and my two children. My four grandchildren are in the system and two more will be as the become of age. I have several friends who are or were educators.
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. I believe that all school systems in MS should be 100% fully funded based on the MAEP standards. They not only should be fully funded BUT all monies should be received from the state. If elected, I would request to be on the Education Committee. I would be a voice and advocate for public schools.
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?
Work with all House Reps to ensure a fair and equitable budget. I support Federal funds to support Medicaid expansion. I support the elimination of the grocery tax. Mississippians are suffering under the current administration and its neglect and abuse of their power.
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 oppose school vouchers for private, religious, home and virtual schools. I oppose AG Fitch’s underhanded attempt to give $10 million to private schools. The MS Constitution is clear as to prohibiting public funds going to private 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?
Yes. The accountability must be the same, the accreditation must be the same, books and curriculum must be the same. And once again, those schools should NOT receive taxpayers dollars. I’m of the opinion those schools want the money but NOT the accountability.
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. Students with disabilities deserve the same opportunities. Autism has become a major challenge in our school systems. It is a challenge that the public schools must and will be able to accept and rise to the challenge.
7. Do you agree that Mississippi should provide high quality early childhood education statewide?
Absolutely. Early learning is so important to get the child engaged and interested in reading. It’s the foundation that will determine if that child graduates or drops out.
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?
1. Eliminate the “tax on life” – the grocery tax. Food insecurity is real to a lot of Mississippians and must be addressed. As a state we can afford free breakfast and lunch. 2. Healthcare must be addressed. We must expand Medicaid in MS. We have hospitals in the Delta closing because the Gov and the majority simply ignore the problem. Children must have adequate and convenient healthcare in order to succeed.
9. In the 2022 Legislative Session, a significant teacher pay raise was passed. Do you support continued pay increases to ensure that Mississippi’s teacher salaries keep pace with inflation and salaries in our neighboring states?
Yes. We need our dedicated educators to stay in Mississippi. We must be competitive with salary and benefits. Being competitive in education is simply investing in MS.
10. Do you agree that retired educators (and other retired state employees) should be able to draw their retirement while serving in the Legislature?
Absolutely. These educators and state employees earned their money. It’s their money. Serving in the Legislature should not prevent them from their retirement account and should not deter them from seeking an elected position in the Legislature.
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. As I prepared for the campaign, I searched out those with election experience. I will seek guidance from all of the above. And weigh all ideas, comments, and suggestions. I will utilize the resources of The Parents’ Campaign, MAE, and MPE.
I am very passionate about my beliefs and will not back down. I know how to ask questions and listen to answers. If elected, I will be debt free from campaign responsibilities. Please check out www.votedavidolds.com.