SHAKOPEE, MINN.- The superintendent of the Shakopee school district, Dr. Rod Thompson, resigned on Monday night, June 19, receiving $50,000 in a separation package.
Thompson’s resignation comes after it was discovered that he had used his work P-card to make over $5,000 worth of purchases. The purchases included a TV and a speaker system, and a MacBook. As reported by the Shakopee Valley News, while some of the purchases made on the P-card were reimbursed, certain purchases were not, including the TV and the Macbook. The TV specifically led to a lengthy investigation of Thompson by the Shakopee Police Department. After the investigation, Thompson did reimburse the district for these purchases as well.
In an interview with the Shakopee Valley News, Assistant Superintendent, John Bezek, pointed out that “it is odd to do it in reverse,” referencing that it is often the case that the district reimburses a person for expenses, not a person reimbursing the district.
The investigation came to light after a citizen’s group, Concerned Citizens of Shakopee, and the local paper, Shakopee Valley News, inquired more about the $4.5 million deficit the school currently faces.
Thompson had blamed the large deficit on “human error” in an email to district employees. According to Thompson, these “human errors” lead to a “series of inaccurate budgeting assumptions, omissions and errors.”
A financial audit conducted by Bergen KDV, the accounting firm that performed the audit, shows that the district has excessively overspent in 14 of the 19 expenditure categories. Administration was one of the biggest increases in this category. It is believed even with changes being made to the budget the school district will still land deep in the red with a $1.5 million deficit.
Settlement for Thompson of $50,000, was made in hopes of avoiding a possible $150,000 in legal expenses for the district.