Special meeting

School Board Chairman Scott Swanson speaks at Monday night’s meeting. Assistant Superintendent John Bezek sits to his right.

Updated at 7:50 p.m. Monday

The Shakopee School Board unanimously approved Superintendent Rod Thompson's resignation, effective June 30, at a special meeting Monday night.

"This is a very difficult action we are about to take, but it's absolutely necessary. It's the right thing to do financially, and the right thing to do for our district office," Board Chairman Scott Swanson said, reading a prepared statement. 

As part of the separation agreement approved by the board, Thompson will receive a lump sum payment of $50,000 from the school district. Thompson was not at the meeting.

Board member Reggie Bowerman said the decision to approve a separation agreement with Thompson has less financial impact on the district than the alternatives. He said the immediacy, certainty and finality of the resignation and separation agreement outweighed the alternatives.

Swanson said taking other routes could cost the district up to $150,000 and draw out the process of Thompson leaving the district.

"In light of the current issues facing the school district, the school board feels that a change in leadership is warranted," said Swanson. "Rest assured we take our responsibilities very seriously, and we are committed to seeing the school district through this difficult time."

The board's official statement on the resignation and separation agreement indicated it chose this route to avoid putting more stress on school district staff and the community. 

"Proceeding in this manner will allow the school district to begin the process of healing sooner, as opposed to later, while beginning to address its fiscal concerns in an efficient manner," the statement said.

Dozens of Shakopee residents attended the meeting and filled the board room until only standing room remained. During public comment, many spoke to the board and expressed concern that board members did not acknowledge the community's concerns about Thompson sooner.

"We're here because of the arrogance and mismanagement of one man," said Shakopee resident Mark Lindstrom. "There's been bad vibes here for two years, easily, with this guy with some of the things he's been doing. Your job is to oversee management... You've failed us. I honestly think we should be getting resignation letters from the school board for this."

Shakopee resident Angie Smolke had similar concerns.

"What's difficult for us as parents here is it seems like things have been happening for the past two years that you've been aware of, (and) that has taken two years to address," Smolke said. "We have so many uses for our money and instead (Thompson) is writing personal checks back, and here we sit today. The reason some of us are pretty upset is we trusted you."

A couple people spoke up in support of board members, saying they need to get back to the business of overseeing education and leading the district in a positive direction with its curriculum.

"I know for a fact that almost all of you joined the school board because you have kids or had kids and wanted to do what's best for them," said Shakopee resident Leo Budija. "You for sure put the kids first and built the whole district around the education piece. Stay, and keep doing what you're doing."

The board has not yet named an interim superintendent.

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

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