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Lea Simmons
Texas House District 76





715 East Park, Sugar Land, TX, 77498

Additional Information

Advanced to a runoff for Texas House District 76 in the 2024 Republican primary election.

Candidate Survey Responses


1. If elected, what are your top priorities for public education?

I want to have more access to books that have clean education for children and books on training for vocational programs and technology. Creative writing and learning is also important so that people who are interested in learning more about the subject that interests them can read those books in their spare time. The library is a place of quiet time and free education for everyone.

2. Voucher programs take many forms (tax credits, scholarships, education savings accounts, etc.) and are either universal or aimed at specific subpopulations (special education students, low-income students, students attending schools with poor A-F accountability ratings, etc.). Would you vote to create a voucher program of any type to pay for students to attend non-public K-12 schools, such as private or home schools?

I definitely want to learn more about this because the specific needs listed here are key to the success of students that are unable to learn in a public school because of school bullying or because they have special needs to progress in their studies.

3. In 2023, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3 requiring a number of new school safety measures. However, many believe the Legislature did not adequately increase funding to cover the cost of the mandates in HB 3 or other locally adopted school safety measures. How would you work to make schools safer and ensure such initiatives are properly funded?

Currently Fort Bend County is allowing safety measures for public schools by providing security for children, teachers, and school staff. This measure is something to consider at the state level and at the State School Board of Education.

4. Despite a record-breaking surplus of $38 billion during the 2023 legislative session, school funding formulas were not increased to keep pace with inflation since they were last adjusted in 2019. Do you believe Texas public schools should receive additional funding? If so, how should the state pay for it?

Yes, I do believe that school funding is important and that the ongoing consideration of the legislation is to increase spending for schools and the measure needs more attention during the next legislative session next year. In the time being, the County is the one that is probably providing everything through the funding of the taxpayer. I want to educate myself on the process. I believe that schools should be heard in regards to their needs and the needs of their students. This is also a matter that the State School Board should be a part of.

5. Texas has faced growing teacher shortages in recent years, with many schools hiring uncertified teachers to fill the gaps. How would you work to ensure Texas public schools have an adequate number of trained and certified teachers?

The level of teaching needs is increasing based upon the individual classroom ratio of students. Substitute teachers are an option as well to improve their teaching skills and have on the job training when relating to the students.They are trained by the teachers as they shadow the teacher and the relationship with the students is crucial to helping the students understand their presence in regards to simple needs like tutoring or basic test preparation for important basic reading, writing, and math assignments.

6. Inadequate compensation hampers the recruitment and retention of high-quality educators. Do you support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas educators?

Yes, I agree that all Texas educators need a higher pay that is provided by the state.

7. The high cost of health insurance available to educators is a significant factor decreasing their take-home pay. How would you address the challenge of rising health care costs facing Texas educators and ensure access to affordable health care?

Health insurance is a basic part of survival in our society. Without it, no one is secure because of stress or just basic conditions of health insurance that cannot be covered or guaranteed. Out of pocket costs are sometimes the only option. I believe that teachers deserve healthcare specifically tailored to a teacher’s needs.

8. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in the Texas public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used as a metric in determining teacher pay, school accountability ratings, evaluating teachers, measuring student progress, etc.?

I don’t think that is fair to blame all of the teachers. Students sometimes don’t want to ask for help. Tutoring should be available for students that have a lack of confidence or could be overwhelmed with the challenges of their studies or lack of motivation because they don’t have other students or families helping them. It depends on the situation of each student.

9. In your opinion, what is the proper balance between accommodating an individual parent’s or student’s wishes and the taxpaying community’s interest in directing and maintaining an optimal educational environment for the student population as a whole?

Schools should be open to having after school programs for students that don’t have a quiet environment to study at. Study groups are helpful for young students to interact with other students to help them with their homework and to make progress on their grades.

10. Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined-benefit pension plan for all future, current, and retired educators, or do you support converting TRS to a defined-contribution structure that is more like a 401(k) plan, in which future benefits are not guaranteed?

No. I think that Teacher Retirement is a great way to keep all of the teachers from the past, present, and future as a family and it needs to be where they all get together to learn from each other on how to improve the system. The system should stay the same.

11. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations such as ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees continue to exercise this right?

All educators and public employees should be allowed to do what they want to do. I am supporting this.

Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey

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