The Natrona County School District says that it is making more detailed records available, after an article was published on the Forbes.com website, saying that the NCSD spent nearly $10 million in credit card purchases.
The Forbes article says that line items from credit card records obtained by the organization, indicate the spending of “hundreds of taxpayer dollars at establishments such as the local Dr. Fermento Beer and Winemaking Shop, the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in Missouri, the Dollywood Amusement Park in Nashville, Tennessee, and the Elitch’s amusement park in Denver, Colorado.”
Forbes says they have released line-by-line transaction histories for download, within the story.
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According to Forbes, the school district spent nearly $10 million on “travel,” “entertainment,” “recreation,” “dining-out,” and “charitable giving.” The website further alleges that expenditures were aggregated under the credit card company or vendors names. “Thus, hiding the purpose,” Forbes alleges.
The School District responded with a written statement sent to media, just before 7:00 pm, Friday, August 17th. The full text of that statement follows:
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.