Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From Mr. James Richmond

Video Message from James Richmond to employees

Email from Mr. Richmond to employees

Dear Charles County Public Schools employees:

Earlier today I sent a video message about the projected county funding shortage. I attended the Charles County Commissioners meeting this afternoon, and while I do not have a lot of additional information, I wanted to share a few more details.

This afternoon, the Charles County Commissioners announced a potential $8 million to $9 million budget shortfall that will impact funding to the school system. We do not have definite funding cut estimates; however, we have been notified that the shortage will affect our budget.

Let me assure you that people – all Charles County Public Schools’ staff – are our top priority. We are a people business, and every employee has a role in providing a quality education to our students. As we review our budget, we will look first at our fund balance, material goods and other areas.

The classroom, students and a quality learning environment will remain our focus regardless of any adjustments we need to make.

While we did not anticipate any further cuts from the county beyond the ones made prior to the start of the school year, we are aware of the difficulties states, counties and school systems across the nation are experiencing. Because of that, we have done a number of things to help keep the school system financially sound and to conserve our resources.

We opened Mary B. Neal Elementary School by transferring staff where possible.

Since the beginning of the school year, we have frozen 32 vacant positions, most in the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, to provide a possible buffer in the event we receive additional cuts. My sincere thanks go to the employees who have picked up additional job responsibilities that allow us to keep these positions vacant.

During the summer, we changed office hours and consolidated programs in order to save money. The $160,000 energy savings will help offset additional costs for relocatables added this year.

There are no easy fixes to the economy and we do not see relief in the immediate future. In the meantime, we still need to provide our students with quality instruction, safe schools and the skills and education necessary for them to be successful in a global market. Our mission, vision and accountability do not change even though our budget may. I ask that we work together, conserve our resources and continue to strive for excellence.

Thank you for all you do for children each day. I will keep you informed as decisions are made and we learn more.

James E. Richmond
Superintendent of Schools

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