By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The former superintendent for Shakopee schools is charged spending more than
$70,000 of the district’s money.

Rod Thompson resigned back in June after investigators discovered he made personal purchases with the district’s money.

Suspicions and anger have been sweeping through the Shakopee school district for months. In March, angry parents confronted school officials over a $4.5 million budget shortfall. Then in the spring, a parent made a data request for superintendent Rod Thompson’s personal expenses and discovered Thompson had charged the school district’s credit card hundreds of times for personal expenses including trips, tickets to the Grand Ole Opry and even $217 cowboy boots.

Thompson was forced to resign, but not before getting a $50,000 severance package from the district. He was charged with 21 felonies Tuesday morning.

Rod Thompson (credit: Shakopee Police)

“People should be upset. This was not right,” Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate said. “This individual stole from the taxpayers, and he lied.”

Thompson is also charged with fraudulently receiving $37,000 in reimbursements from the school district for the adoption of a child. While the county attorney says Thompson did eventually adopt, the $37,000 never went to any adoption agency.

“The agency never received any of those funds,” Tate said. “He essentially stole that money from the school district.”

Thompson was first named superintendent in 2011. Both the police chief and county attorney say they believe this is the start of putting a very public and painful period for the community behind them. Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar said,
“Hopefully, that is closure for the citizens of Shakopee,” Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar said. “Now, my office can take over and hopefully get a successful prosecution out of it.”

Thompson is currently in the Scott county jail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

The county attorney says under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the maximum he could face would be about five years.

Esme Murphy

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