Public school board forum

Shakopee resident Mike Renner questions the board about its low cash reserve balance on March 20, after a $4.5 million budget shortfall was made public.

Updated at 8:58 p.m.

The Shakopee Police Department has opened an investigation after Shakopee School District credit card records showed the superintendent used his card for about $5,000 in personal purchases.

Police Chief Jeff Tate confirmed Wednesday there is an open investigation, but he could not comment further because the investigation is active. Asked whether the investigation is focused on the superintendent or the district in general, Tate said via email, "The only information we've been provided is on the superintendent." 

According to the police incident report, the investigation was opened due to a "complaint by multiple citizens that (the) superintendent has made improper charges on (the) district credit card."

The Shakopee Valley News published a special report today detailing purchases made with district credit cards. 

Superintendent Rod Thompson made more than 40 personal purchases on his district credit card in 2015 and 2016. Thompson reimbursed the district for those purchases in a lump sum of $3,500 on June 30, 2016, when he realized he accidentally used his district card several times, according to district spokeswoman Ashley McCray.

Making personal purchases is considered a misuse of the district credit card, according to the credit card program manual.

Last week, the Valley News published another report delving into district travel using the cards. Thompson reimbursed the district $1,448 after Valley News staff discovered a receipt for a Sept. 10-12, 2016, flight to Nashville booked using Thompson's district card. The receipt indicated the tickets were for Thompson and his wife, Lori, at a cost of $724 per passenger.

Thompson's executive assistant, Sarah Koehn, said the trip was initially booked in April as a business trip to Nashville, and Thompson's wife was going to come along to celebrate their anniversary.

As September drew closer, Koehn said, Thompson realized he couldn't ask someone to meet him to conduct business on a weekend, and he didn't want to leave his wife for their anniversary. When the trip turned personal, Thompson forgot to reimburse the district for the ticket. 

On Tuesday, McCray said Thompson's card had been cancelled indefinitely, and would not comment further. Then on Wednesday, she said Thompson made the decision to cancel his district credit card.

"The district is cooperating with authorities," McCray said Wednesday.

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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