The Shakopee School District reduced its list of purchase card holders from 68 to 30 in early June, saying the move was brought on as part of a continuous financial improvement process.
The number of P-card holders is down significantly from February 2018, when Finance Director Jeff Priess started working for the district. At that time, the list included 85 P-card holders, including principals at every school, district office staff, custodial staff and a smattering of teachers.
Now, with the updated list pared down to 30, primarily custodial staff and building administrators have access to P-cards, along with five district office employees.
In case anyone needs a reminder, P-cards have been a hot topic at the school district in recent years since former superintendent Rod Thompson was found guilty of using his P-card to make several thousand dollars of personal purchases and travel arrangements. Though Thompson has been out of his position at the district for two years and in prison for three months, the district has continued to review and revise its reimbursement/P-card program.
According to a press release from the district, the most recent changes to the list of P-card users is “a continuation of a shift from the use of P-cards to greater use of expense reimbursement for minor purchases. The end result will be greater efficiency in the district and the Finance Department.”
Superintendent Mike Redmond commended Priess and the finance team at a school board retreat Monday night, saying Priess has made sure the P-card system is beyond reproach.
Priess explained mistakes happen easier with use of a P-card vs. a reimbursement after-the-fact: “When using P-cards the public expenditure precedes the required approvals and documentation. Thus, mistakes happen, which are corrected after the expenditure. This process is extremely time consuming for my staff.”
According to the press release, the finance department has worked to resolve the following types of mistakes:
Coding: P-card holders are required to provide a 17-digit code (UFARS) so that each expenditure can be properly documented for the budget. On occasion, a digit can be misplaced or illegible.
Paying sales tax: The school district is exempt from paying sales tax on its purchases. It is the cardholder’s responsibility to ensure the merchant does not charge sales tax on the purchase.
Purchase not considered a public expenditure: All expenditures must follow the public purpose doctrine. Shakopee Public School’s Finance Department adheres strictly to the public purpose doctrine. Public purpose means the expenditure must benefit the community as a whole, is directly related to the functions of the school district, and it does not provide a benefit to a private interest. Acceptable expenditures would include staff training, approved supplies for a program, books, instructional games/toys, student field trips, and professional dues and subscriptions. Unacceptable purchases would include: gift certificates, flowers or gifts for celebratory or death, personal meals, and donations to charitable organizations.
Timeliness of receipt submission: Per the P-card program manual, required documentation must be turned in by the 10th of the subsequent month.
To see the most recent list of approved P-card users as of June 2019, click here.
To see a list of approved P-card users as of February 2018, click here.