By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
While Escambia County Board of Education members feel confident their search for a new superintendent is all but complete, they now must turn their attention to finding a new chief accountant.
The board decided during its Thursday, January 18, meeting to turn to two outside sources — one to help fill the critical Chief Schools Financial Officer (CSFO) position, the other to keep things in line until a permanent CSFO can be hired.
Education officials will pay Alabama Association of School Boards (AASB) $5,000 to conduct a search for a new CSFO to replace Rochelle Richardson, whose tenure as CSFO is set to end on February 29.
AASB, which conducted the search that ultimately led to the hiring in 2021 of Michele McClung, solicits candidates, interviews those that apply and makes a recommendation on which individual or individuals best meet the school system’s needs.
The board further agreed to enter into a contract with Criterion K-12 Consulting Evaluation Support Services under which the firm will provide — at $825 per day, plus expenses — a retired CSFO on an as-needed basis to make sure payroll, federal reimbursements and other critical accounting obligations are kept timely until a new chief accountant is hired.
Richardson earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of South Alabama and a Master of Business Administration, Accounting and Business/Management from Louisiana State University Shreveport.
She was a real estate agent for 30 months before taking the CSFO job in July 2022. Prior to that, she worked seven years for the Mobile County School System as a bookkeeper, accounting clerk and account analyst.