LEWISBURG — It will be another month until Lewisburg Area School District officials know what became of hacked student information and how a student was able to infiltrate the cafeteria data system last month, Superintendent Mark DiRocco told school board members and attendees Thursday night.
The school board, with all nine members present, also approved a package of alternatives for the new high school project that will take it to the final bid approval at the Nov. 24 board meeting.
The FBI and Buffalo Valley Regional Police need the time for the ongoing forensic analysis of the computer and “personal technology devices” the accused student used to break into the cafeteria data system, DiRocco said. Originally, it was thought the investigation would be done by now.
He read from a statement sent to all Lewisburg parents and guardians.
“We have no indication at this time that anything was done with the data,” DiRocco said, addressing myriad rumors of what happened to the Social Security numbers, birth dates and other personal information of 1,320 students in the file that was accessed. About 640 students did not have their Social Security numbers exposed, he said.
Free credit monitoring services are offered to all families for a year, he said, whether or not their children’s information was compromised. The services are covered by the district’s insurance for cybercrime. Letters about the incident and the service were mailed to parents and guardians Nov. 3.
DiRocco again emphasized all students’ Social Security numbers were scrubbed from all school data banks following discovery of the hack. The cafeteria information system, which monitors how many students buy lunch every day, was an old system that included, inexplicably, the Social Security information.
“As of today, all district file servers are running the most up-to-date operating systems with the latest security features,” DiRocco said, adding that technology specialists from the Blast Intermediate Unit are reviewing security systems “to prevent or reduce the chances of this happening in the future.”
DiRocco said the district will not discuss the student in question, including disciplinary actions that may occur, calling this a “confidential student matter” that is still being addressed with the student’s parents.
It will be up to Union County District Attorney D. Peter Johnson to file charges once he sees police reports and if he determines a crime has occurred
Meanwhile, board members were presented with bids and alternatives for the high school project. General contractor bids opened earlier this month came in about 3 percent, or $900,000, higher than the school district expected.
To that end, Chris Barnett, of architecture firm Crabtree, Rohrbach and Associates, presented the school board with several scenarios for features to keep or remove. The recommended version, which the school board approved 8-1, includes an orchestra pit, fly-loft system, terrazzo flooring in all hallways and paving a trail between the high school and Kelly Elementary. These additions make Lobar Inc. the lowest of six bidders at $21.3 million. Board member Mary Howe abstained from the vote.
This number, however, includes the new school going for LEED Gold status, making it highly energy efficient, which would make it eligible for a $2 million grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. The board adopted a resolution that it will seek this status and go for the grant.
Barnett presented a Nov. 12 letter from state Sen. Gene Yaw, R-23 of Loyalsock Township, recommending the agency approve Lewisburg for the grant. The grant application is due Friday.
The school board voted 8-1 to hold its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24, when it will vote to choose a contractor. This would let construction begin in mid-December.