Impact of e-mail breach discussed

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Contract negotiations between the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District and union negotiating teams were canceled this week in light of an alleged e-mail security breach.

Instead, members of the district met with representatives from the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association Monday to discuss the impact of the breach on the already contentious negotiation process.

The result of the meeting was a two paragraph joint press release, stating the teams agreed the investigation of the e-mail breach should continue and that they will tentatively plan to meet again May 16.

The parties were originally scheduled to meet Monday and today for the next round of contract negotiations. District administration decided last week, however, that an alleged breach of e-mail security could have compromised the negotiation process.

According to the district, a number of confidential e-mails between school board members and senior administrators had been accessed by persons other than the intended recipients.

As of last Wednesday, a handful of school district employees had been placed on administrative leave as a result of investigation of the matter. The number of employees on leave was not released, nor were names.

Investigation is expected to continue throughout the week.

Monday's joint statement was signed by Joe Arness, a school board member and spokesperson for the administration's team, Buck George, KPESA vice president, and Dave Larson, KPEA spokes-person. District superintendent Donna Peterson is out of the office this week. Assistant superintendent Gary Whitely and union representatives declined to comment on the statement.

Despite last week's disagreement over the impact of the e-mail investigation on negotiation proceedings, the parties involved have reiterated the common goal is to arrive at a mutually beneficial and reasonable contract in a timely manner.

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