A $4.5 million budget error is causing consternation in the Shakopee school district.
Superintendent Rod Thompson sent out an e-mail to district staff Friday that a miscalculation caused by “human error” meant that school officials had to cut spending for the rest of this school year and look hard at next year’s budget.
In the e-mail, Thompson said the district is first examining retirements, attrition and resignations before adjusting staffing. He noted that 80 to 85 percent of the district’s $125 million budget goes to staffing.
Parents attended the school board meeting Monday and took to social media to voice their concerns.
“I’m absolutely worried and concerned for the district,” said Timothy Johnson who has two children in the district.
In an interview Tuesday, Thompson said, “It is my role as the superintendent to take responsibility and make sure that this budget gets repaired. So, I just want to make sure we are doing as much as we can to keep those budget targets in line, and frankly protect those classrooms and retain as many of our staff as possible.”
The error apparently came to light in December. Then-district finance director Mike Burlager brought the error to the school board’s attention during a Dec. 12 meeting and soon after announced his retirement. Thompson said he notified staff last week because the district was reviewing its staffing budget.
Thompson said he wanted to address the shortfall by starting with cuts in the district office. Principals were then asked to take a look at their budgets, according to the e-mail.
The school district has hired a consulting firm to help the district keep track of finances.