She is responsible for annual budgets totaling nearly $400 million, including more than $300 million in the general fund, for 31,408 students and 5,175 employees.
Meet the Muscogee County School District’s new chief financial officer, Janice Bloodworth — educated in the system where she now oversees all that money for all those people.
“I understand it’s a big responsibility, and I’m just looking forward to taking on that opportunity,” she told the Ledger-Enquirer. “I feel like I have something to offer, and we’re going to continue to make the district a better place for the kids.”
During its April 19 meeting, the MCSD board approved the recommendation from superintendent David Lewis to promote Bloodworth. She had been the interim CFO since Theresa Thornton retired in January 2020 after five years in the position.
Lewis said he selected Bloodworth out of 26 applicants, six of whom were interviewed. She was the only internal candidate.
“Mrs. Bloodworth has been a loyal and dedicated member of our Finance Division for the past ten years,” Lewis wrote in an email. “Having served in the capacity as the interim Chief Financial Officer, she demonstrated the knowledge base and skills that I believe will serve her and our school district well in her new permanent role. The fact that she is the product of our school system is an added benefit and point of pride.”
Bloodworth attended Wesley Heights Elementary School and Fort Middle School before graduating from Kendrick High School in 1988. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accountancy from the University of North Carolina in 1998.
Board chairwoman Pat Hugley Green of District 1 called it “wonderful” to have a graduate of the school district become a member of the superintendent’s cabinet.
“It’s really significant for the community, for the students, to see the opportunity,” Green told the L-E. “When you have people who are from your community rise to the level of that position, that should give students a look into what they can become.”
Green also noted the significance of an MCSD employee working up the ranks to a position of such responsibility. All of which shows, Green said, “We have great things going on in Muscogee County and Columbus, Georgia. You don’t have to go down the road or across the country to find that.”
Bloodworth’s career started in 1999 at the Columbus accounting firm Robinson, Grimes & Co., where she worked her way up to audit supervisor by the time she joined MCSD in 2009.
With MCSD, she has served as accounting director, senior director of fiscal management and senior director of accounting before becoming CFO.
Besides her father suggesting she would be good at it, Bloodworth said she chose accounting as a career because she enjoys “the puzzle and fitting all the pieces together and analyzing the data.”
She started taking businesses classes in high school and “just kept on going. I never really looked back and never really thought to do anything different.”
Bloodworth left Columbus for 10 years, making three moves with her military husband and two children while attending four colleges to obtain her credentials.
Now, those credentials and experience have boosted her atop MCSD’s 30-person finance division.
Change and priority
Don’t expect major changes, Bloodworth said, but “I will be working with my team to see if there are areas that we can improve on, things we may want to do a little differently. I want to have a strong customer service focus, being that support the other divisions need.”
Her priority will be raising the district’s fund balance from around 25 days of spending in reserve to the 60-day target. That would make borrowing money cheaper and plugging revenue shortfalls easier.
As the administration prepares to present the board its budget for fiscal year 2022, which starts July 1, Bloodworth doesn’t foresee funding cuts, which school districts faced last year.
“We’re actually getting more money from the state this year,” she said.
Combined with the federal CARES Act money aiding public agencies through the coronavirus pandemic, Bloodworth said she sees no indication MCSD would need to lay off or furlough employees.
Asked how Columbus residents will know whether she is doing a good job, Bloodworth put it this way: “If we’re able to find the funds for what we need to do.”