BREAKING: Article Outlines Natrona Co. School District Credit Card Use
UPDATE: Superintendent Steve Hopkins will hold a press conference in the morning. We will be there and bring you the story.
An explosive article in Forbes Magazine alleges that the Natrona County School District had credit card charges last year that total almost ten million dollars.
The article, which you can access HERE, outlines the charges for travel, restaurants, luxury resorts and entertainment in great detail including dates, amounts and destinations.
The author, Adam Andrzejewski, did the research with the group Openthebooks.com, and summed up the issue this way..."During calendar year 2017, the second largest school district in Wyoming, the Natrona County School District in Casper, racked up $9.6 million in credit card expenditures. School officials charged off nearly 28,000 individual transactions, averaging 76 charges per day for $27,400."
You will find all the details by following the link. K2 Radio News contacted District spokesperson Tanya Southerland who promised a comment from Superintendent Steve Hopkins as soon as he can be reached. In the meantime, we have this statement...
"The Natrona County School District understands and appreciates public interest regarding the use of taxpayer dollars for educational purposes. We are working diligently with our Business Services department to specifically provide detailed information on expenses related to district credit card purchases.
Earlier this year, NCSD complied with an open records request regarding district credit card purchases. When a credit card statement is compiled the credit card company may designate a purchase under a certain category such as: entertainment, travel, etc.
However, what the credit card statement may not identify is the purpose behind such an expense. (Field trip, professional development, classroom/educational supplies, etc.)
We would like to share those additional details and purchase justifications with interested stakeholders. We anticipate this information will be readily available via our website natronaschools.org early next week. At that time individuals will be able to preview credit card expenses and understand the specific educational purpose behind the purchases.
We appreciate the public patience as we work to provide this information in a timely manner."
The article says though, "More troubling is the fact that the details of these credit card transactions were not disclosed to citizens, students, journalists, or the elected members of the school board. Instead, the expenditures were aggregated under the name of the credit card company or vendor name (i.e. Amazon), thus, hiding the purpose."
K2 Radio News will add the Superintendent's comments as soon as we hear from him, and any board members we can reach.