Shakopee district leaders to answer questions on $4.5 million budget 'error'

Leaders of Shakopee Public Schools will answer questions about the district’s $4.5 million budget “error.” Community members will get the opportunity to question leaders at a forum at West Junior High on Monday, March 20, at 6 p.m.

Here is a timeline of the communications about the problem:

DECEMBER 12: The school district’s finance director told the school board he had “missed the mark” on the budgeting of the 2016-2017 school year. The director did not assign a dollar amount to the error. Despite the comment occurring in a public meeting, the mistake received little to no public attention for months.

MARCH 9: Some elementary school teachers were told they would likely not have jobs next year. One teacher told Fox 9 it was the first time he had heard about any error, and that the job cuts were blamed on both declining enrollment and the budget error.

MARCH 10: The superintendent, Rod Thompson, sent staff an e-mail, writing “through its annual financial review the district discovered a $4.5 million of budget errors.” The superintendent wrote the “errors were primarily budget assumptions and omissions made by our district finance office leadership.” Despite the error, the superintendent promised the district would finish the year in the black.

MARCH 13: Emotional parents and teachers confronted the school board about the error. The chair of the school board answered a few questions, but the superintendent remained mostly silent about the mistake.

MARCH 14: A district spokesperson told Fox 9 the errors were made to budgets concerning special education, athletics/activities, summer school, various small budgets, and benefits. The spokesperson said the district hoped to cut “less than 10 non-tenured teachers.”

MARCH 20: The district will hold a community forum at West Junior High School’s auditorium from 6-7:30 p.m. District leaders will present information about the error, and take questions.

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