Thanks for a job done well

Hailed for shep­herd­ing CCPS through dif­fi­cult bud­gets

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­ Twit­ter: @JamieACIndyNews

Long-time fi­nan­cial guru Balides re­tires from school sys­tem

For more than two decades, Paul Balides has shep­herded Charles County Pub­lic Schools’ fi­nances through good times and bad.

Now the CCPS’ as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of finance is step­ping down, re­tir­ing af­ter 21 years with the school sys­tem.

“I’ve worked for Paul [Balides] since 1987, and I can say that Paul is an ex­tremely bril­liant man with all of the ac­com­plish­ments that he’s done for CCPS,” said Randy So­tomayor, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Finance and Busi­ness. “One of the big­gest things he has done, is through­out his en­tire ca­reer in CCPS, there have never been any lay­offs.”

Balides’ du­ties will be han- dled in an in­terim ca­pac­ity by So­tomayor, said school sys­tem Su­per­in­ten­dent Kimberly Hill.

A farewell cel­e­bra­tion was held on Fri­day, his last day, and at­tended by staff, school board mem­bers past and present, county of­fi­cials and oth­ers, to bid farewell to Balides, whom many said has made a last­ing im­pact on the school sys­tem.

Balides left a se­nior staff po­si­tion at Amer­i­can Univer­sity in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., in 1995 to take a po­si­tion with the school sys­tem as ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Finance and Busi­ness. Keith Het­tel, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of sup­port­ing ser­vices, said Balides guided the sys­tem through some very dif­fi­cult fi­nan­cial crises.

“He ba­si­cally changed the way we do busi­ness, to­tally changed it, and it wasn’t with­out some push­back, but he put a cush­ion in for us, for the needs of the sys­tem,” Het­tel said. “He could al­ways come up with a way to fund things things that meant that we could do the job we needed to do.”

Hill thanked Balides for the per­sonal in­tegrity he demon­strated in car­ry­ing out his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“Tak­ing care of the money in an or­ga­ni­za­tion this size, with an over $334 mil­lion bud­get, is a huge job, and it is some­thing you’ve al­ways done with hu­mor, and some­thing you’ve done with a lit­tle sar­casm, but I never, ever won­dered if you were do­ing some­thing wrong,” Hill told Balides. “The ethics that you have shown have been be­yond re­proach.”

Amy Holl­stein, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of in­struc­tion, said Balides’ legacy in­cludes the school break­fast pro­gram and the James E. Rich­mond Science Cen­ter.

Charles County Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D) said Balides worked closely with the board on fi­nan­cial is­sues.

“De­vel­op­ing and main­tain­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the com­mis­sion­ers and the school sys­tem and the board of ed­u­ca­tion is para­mount and I think we have never had a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship than we have today,” Robin­son said. “Any time there was a ques­tion about fund­ing, ren­o­va­tions or new schools, [Balides was] our go-to guy, and we al­ways knew we were go­ing to get a straight an­swer, even if it wasn’t al­ways the num­bers that we wanted to hear.”

Sylvia Law­son, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of school ad­min­is­tra­tion, said Balides has been a great ste­ward of the school sys­tem’s fi­nances.

“No one ever wor­ried about get­ting their pay­checks, we didn’t have to have re­duc­tions in force, we didn’t have to lay peo­ple off,” Law­son said.

Balides said the best part of work­ing for the school sys­tem was know­ing that what he was do­ing was to the ben­e­fit of the chil­dren of Charles County.

“It’s been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and I re­ally count my­self for­tu­nate to have been a part of this large fam- ily of peo­ple that got things done,” Balides said.

Balides said he will most miss the peo­ple he worked with and the abil­ity to make an im­pact on chil­dren’s lives.

Hill said Balides has made a last­ing im­pact on CCPS and on the com­mu­nity.

“He brought this school sys­tem through very dif­fi­cult fis­cal times, with­out lay­ing off em­ploy­ees,” Hill said. “He’s a mas­ter of find­ing out how to move money so that we can do what’s right for chil­dren, and he does it all qui­etly, be­hind the scenes. Su­per­in­ten­dents get recog­ni­tion, prin­ci­pals get recog­ni­tion, in­struc­tional per­son­nel get recog­ni­tion. Your fi­nan­cial peo­ple don’t. But he played a sig­nif­i­cant role in how we can do our jobs to im­pact chil­dren.”


Paul Balides, out­go­ing as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of finance for Charles County Pub­lic Schools, is pre­sented with a framed photo of the Jesse L. Starkey Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing by Randy So­tomayor, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Of­fice of Finance and Busi­ness. A re­tire­ment cel­e­bra­tion was held for Balides Fri­day.

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