WAAY 31's Stephanie Beecken spoke with a person who received their pink slip Friday and the system's new consultant. Dr. Ed Richardson was hired as the system's consultant. He's the former state superintendent.
Friday he told WAAY 31 his plans for the future of Huntsville schools. We also discussed his contract and the concerns he had to address with the board before signing it. Marcus Jackson has worked for the Huntsville school system for a year. He's currently ETV's technical assistant.
“I'm the person responsible for making sure that the video is encoded and making sure the viewers have what they need to watch and everything,” said Marcus Jackson.
But this will end March 7th. Friday he was given his pink slip. Jackson is not alone. Four pages list the names of the almost 100 support staff employees who have lost their job but while the school board voted to let go of these employees, they hired Dr. Ed Richardson as a consultant. He'll work two days a week be paid $600 a day and be reimbursed for lodging and travel. Either party can terminate the contract at any time.
When asked when his first day would be Dr. Ed Richardson said, “It's already started. The contracted was dated whatever that first day was I came up.”
Dr. Richardson says his goal is to get the system back in the black as quickly as possible but to do that more cuts must be made.
“There will be some additional probationary people that will have to be released and probably some non-probationary support personnel,” said Dr. Ed Richardson
He says he will try to keep the cuts out of the classroom. Dr. Ed Richardson recommends that he serve as a consultant until the new superintendent is hired.
“I want to make many of the hard decisions before the new superintendent comes so he or she will have a better chance of success,” said Dr. Ed Richardson
He believes someone from the outside who can be objective was needed to get the system back on track.
“If you let people who have been here all along deal with it than it's going to drag out over a long period of time,” said Dr. Richardson.
Despite losing his job Marcus Jackson just wants the best for the students.
“I just wish the best for Huntsville City Schools to pick up from this point and move forward,” said Dr. Ed Richardson.
A couple of weeks ago Dr. Richardson met with the board president and the attorney to discuss the contract. Dr. Richardson says he delayed signing to make sure the board understood the magnitude of the problem and to make sure they were ready to make difficult decisions.