Our investigation began in March 2017...

after an email from former Shakopee superintendent Rod Thompson leaked detailing a $4.5 million budget issue. This email led to packed school board meetings and a budget forum where hundreds of residents came looking for answers. It also led us at the Shakopee Valley News to request countless credit card receipts, transaction logs, emails and reports through Minnesota's open records law. Here is what we know so far: School administrators, especially Thompson, had traveled extensively, even as the district's budget shortfall quietly grew. Board members, educators, parents and contractors were sometimes in attendance. Thompson made $15,000 worth of personal purchases on his district credit card. About $6,300 was returned or reimbursed by Thompson to the district at different times Plane tickets and hotel rooms for personal trips were also found on Thompson's district card. The FBI is investigating allegations that Thompson received kickbacks from companies awarded contracts with the district. But the story is not over as the district deals with the fall out from budget issues and a former leader under investigation. Follow our ongoing work here.

Reporter and Lifestyle Guide Coordinator

Amanda McKnight has been a Southwest News Media reporter for four years. Amanda is passionate about accountability journalism and describes herself as spunky and assertive. She enjoys running, knitting, exploring nature and going on adventures with her hu