Laptop with city school employees' information stolen

March 16, 2007

By Andrew McGinn, Staff Writer

Nearly 2,000 current and former employees of Springfield City Schools are being notified their personal information was on a stolen laptop belonging to the state auditor's office.

The information includes the names and social security numbers of 1,950 employees who received paychecks on two dates in 2004 - Jan. 30 and Dec. 17 - and Dec. 19, 2003, according to school payroll supervisor Rebecca Scovill.

Any employee who was considered permanent staff as of June 2004, June 2005 and February 2006 also is affected, Scovill said.

The payroll information had been requested by the state as part of an audit, she said.

The district mailed letters to the employees on Thursday.

The information on the stolen computer is name and password protected, the letter stated. The letter went on to say, "the Auditor of State's office has no reason to believe, at this point, any personal information has been accessed."

The three major credit reporting agencies were notified of the breach, the letter added.

The laptop was stolen Feb. 22 from an auditor employee's vehicle parked at home in a garage, according to the letter.

Leaving equipment unattended in a vehicle is against office policy, said Susan Raber, director of public affairs for the state auditor. The employee, who lives in Hilliard, was given a verbal reprimand.

A lot of the auditors work in the field and don't have desks, Raber said.

Because the city school district is in financial emergency, the state conducts annual audits, school board member Don Reed said.

"It's very unfortunate this happened with information we provided to the state auditor," he said.

The district soon will start using only the last four digits of employee social security numbers for identification, according to the letter.

The auditor's office calls the situation "a definite concern of ours," Raber explained.

The office doesn't need social security numbers to do audits and will stop asking clients for them, Raber said.

"They gave us what we asked for," she said. "But we're going to the next step."

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