SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — Leaders in a Twin Cities school district say “human error” led to a $4.5 million budget shortfall.
Parents packed Shakopee West Junior High Monday night to hear the Shakopee superintendent explain what went wrong, and what it means going forward.
Some people who weren’t involved will lose their jobs because of this mistake. So far we’ve learned of two district employees who will lose their jobs. That’s a member of the communication department and a member of the equity team.
But parents are worried the cuts will extend to teachers, programs and other aspects connected to the classroom.
In a packed auditorium at West Junior High school, parents, students and staff listened intently before firing off questions on how the Shakopee School District allowed a multi-million dollar budget shortfall to happen.
“We’re concerned for our kids and we want to make sure they get the education that we’ve grown accustomed to here in Shakopee,” parent Chris Taylor said.
The district says a variety of mistakes including under-budgeting led to the deficit. The district’s finance director, who took responsibility for the error, resigned and has been replaced.
The district also plans to have monthly finance meetings and create a citizens financial advisory group to prevent future problems.
“We will be reviewing our administrative structure district-wide and make appropriate adjustments and we will continue to reduce any of the district department operational budgets where we can,” superintendent Rod Thompson said.
But the question that couldn’t be so quickly answered is how many non-tenured teachers could lose their jobs. The district says it could be up to 10, but what subjects or grades involved is unknown.
That uncertainty as well as the shortfall left some parents flat out angry, but others remain supportive that the district will work through this difficult time.
“This is a great place for families to live and get a really high quality education across the board,” Taylor said. “And a budget shortfall doesn’t change the wonderful teachers that are in this district.”
The list of ideas for balancing the budget is quite long and detailed.
The district says at this point, extracurricular activities won’t be affected. Enrollment for next school year and attrition could play a factor in how many teachers get laid off.