/Reeves ad touting teacher pay raises filmed at private school, features private school teachers

Reeves ad touting teacher pay raises filmed at private school, features private school teachers

Nonprofit Mississippi News A portion of Republican Tate Reeves’ new campaign ad promoting his $4,300 raise for public school teachers was shot at the New Summit School in Jackson, a private school that was founded by a Reeves campaign contributor. The spot also featured many private school teachers as well as Republican political appointees. Kathy Henry, who is a member the state Parole Board and was appointed by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant was appointed to the full-time position. Mark Henry, her husband, is a gubernatorial nominee – to Workers’ Compensation. He makes almost $120,000 annually. Henry was Bryant’s former chief of staff. He was also the former executive director of Mississippi Department of Employment Security. Kathy Henry stated in the ad, “Everyday I saw children flourish.” Mississippi Today was told by Henry that she worked in public schools for 25-years before retiring from Northwest Rankin. Former Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering represented the 3rd Congressional District of Mississippi. She also worked there. Henry can be seen later in the ad in the back of a class full of children. Reeves emphasizes the importance public school teachers. I am a kind person. When asked by Mississippi Today why Henry appeared in the advertisement, Henry stated that she cares about children. Reeves is seen sitting on bleachers at the New Summit gym, with a group white women. Based on information from social media, Internet searches, and sources, at least two of these women work for private schools, the Magnolia Speech School and First Presbyterian Day School, Jackson. Other women couldn’t be immediately identified. Reeves discusses teacher pay in a new education plan revealed on the Gulf Coast. Nancy New, founder of New Summit School and Zack New (executive director of the school), contributed a total of $5,000 to Reeves’ gubernatorial campaign. Nancy New also owns the online learning company New Learning Resources Inc. Over the four previous legislative sessions, $1.03 million was received in state funding. Nancy New stated Monday that she had also given money to other candidates. “You should also check that.” Campaign finance records reveal that New donated $2,000 for the gubernatorial campaign to Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat who was against Reeves in November. New claimed that she didn’t know if a Reeves commercial was shot at her school. Parker Briden, Reeves’ spokesperson, stated that the campaign films ads at both public and private schools to show Reeves isn’t trying “to pit them against one another.” Tate, who has a strong sense for mission, said that they were proud to film the commercial at New Summit. After a school day, they were gracious with their time. Our ad featured public school teachers.” New Summit has benefited from the program Reeves advocated to provide public funding to a small percentage of state’s special-needs children to attend private schools. The program was approved by the Legislature in 2015. It provides vouchers or scholarships to approximately 450 of the state’s 65,000 special-needs children. Reeves, the legislative leader, quietly added language to a bill that would have cost $2 million. This was in the final days of the 2019 legislative sessions. The money was added despite the fact that Richard Bennett (R-Long Beach), Chairman of House Education Committee, had promised House members that the program would not expand due to oversight concerns raised in a legislative watchdog’s report. Bennett stated to House members that he didn’t know the language in the bill adding the extra money. Reeves advocated for expanding school choice voucher programs in his eight years as lieutenant governor but was unsuccessful in getting them through the process. Mississippi Today was informed by Henry that she had seen other ads for Reeves, and was invited to take part in the teacher raise ad. Henry stated that she believed it was appropriate because she was a former teacher and is a supporter of public education. She said, “If you’re trying to make me feel bad about being in a Reeves ad, I’m outraged.” Hood will face Reeves in the Nov. 5, general election. Both candidates offer competing proposals for teacher pay increases. Michelle Liu contributed to the story.