Credit cards

The Shakopee school district has reduced the number of people allowed to charge purchases using a district purchasing card, or P-card.

The Shakopee school district has reduced the number of employees who have district credit cards, commonly called “P-cards,” from 68 to 30.

Most of the P-card holders are administrators or custodians.

At July 8’s Shakopee School Board retreat, Superintendent Mike Redmnod praised Director of Finance Jeff Priess and his department for their handling of the cards. In late June, Priess told the Valley News he was reevaluating the P-card program for “efficiency reasons.”

“I’ve got an accounts payable person who might be chasing down a $59 receipt,” Priess said.

At the retreat, Priess also said the use of P-cards comes before the required approvals and documentation of purchases by district staff members. Because of this, he said, “mistakes happen, which are corrected after the expenditure. This process is extremely time-consuming for my staff.”

A press release by the school district outlines several mistakes the finance department has resolved with the P-card program, such as incorrect documentation of expenses, timeliness of receipt submissions and purchases that aren’t considered public expenditures.

When asked if staff has used P-cards for personal purchases, Priess said, “If people used them for personal purchases, I’d report that to the state auditor. It’s more about the time it takes to get everybody’s receipts and get things reconciled.”

P-cards have been controversial since former Superintendent Rod Thomson went to prison for making 305 personal purchases worth over $30,000 with his P-card between November 2014 and May 2017. Among the purchases were sports memorabilia, personal memberships, an XBox, motorcycle jewelry, clothing, alcohol flasks and travel expenses.

Redmond said at the retreat that the finance department has done “exactly what I want them to do, and that is to make sure our P-card system is beyond reproach.”

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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