NORTHAMPTON – At a special meeting on July 28, the Northampton School Board elected Roberta Jones as permanent business administrator.
Jones, who is currently a business administrator at Regional School Districts in Hampshire, where she has worked for 26 years, was the only person interviewed for the position at the July 28 meeting. She will replace former administrator Nick Bernier, who left in June to work in Easthampton.
The School Affairs Administrator is responsible for the development and ongoing monitoring of the district’s budget and financial resources such as school choice, grants, revolving funds, and donation funds throughout the school year. year.
During her interview, Jones – also referred to as “Bobbie” – said her most recent job involved working for a district that has two regions and three municipalities, meaning she handled five different budgets.
“There’s a really big process just before we start,” Jones said, of the budget process at Hampshire Regional. “I work with the principals, the superintendent; I work with cities, and I work with all the different stakeholders.
Jones said she works “very closely” with her school’s five committees at Hampshire Regional and answers questions from each body when she can. “I provide reports on a quarterly basis for the operating budget… I provide whatever the [school committees] wants,” Jones said. “I’m open to them calling, emailing, texting. Whatever they have to do, I’m open to them. I want to make sure I’m as transparent as possible.
When asked how she works with principals on their budget, Jones said she always approaches them “directly” and meets with them weekly during budget season to find out if there are any shortages or Other problems.
“If we’re falling behind because we’ve had, say, a catastrophic maintenance issue, then we have to see where we can cut back and how can we do that without affecting the schedule,” Jones said. “The biggest thing we want to do is not impact programming, if possible.”
In addition to working with principals, Jones said her role is to model inclusivity and support schools and administrators in whatever they are working on.
Because Hampshire Regional didn’t have a lot of staff, Jones said she also took on the role of overseeing and managing their facilities department, catering department and transport department. “I have really skilled people in my cafeterias who are excellent,” Jones said. “I don’t have much to do for day-to-day operations other than making sure I’m available if they have any questions.”
The meeting was also the first time Jannell Pearson-Campbell appeared before the school committee as the district’s acting superintendent. Susan Wright served as Acting Superintendent and Acting Business Manager before Pearson-Campbell and Jones were hired. Pearson-Campbell is expected to serve for up to a year as the committee continues its search for a permanent nominee. Jones, meanwhile, is expected to officially begin her role as a corporate director in 60 days.
“I don’t think she’s going to need a lot of hand so I honestly think she’ll be able to come in – even though she’s only here part-time for August and September – she’ll know in October,” said Wright.