The Steamboat Springs School District struck a deal with Equifax on Tuesday to offer free credit monitoring for a year to former employees whose Social Security numbers were on a laptop stolen from district offices last week. The move came after initial plans to charge former employees $40 for credit monitoring drew a public outcry.

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The Steamboat Springs School District struck a deal with Equifax on Tuesday to offer free credit monitoring for a year to former employees whose Social Security numbers were on a laptop stolen from district offices last week. The move came after initial plans to charge former employees $40 for credit monitoring drew a public outcry.

District strikes deal for former staff members

School officials to offer free credit monitoring to former employees with compromised information

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— Former employees of the Steamboat Springs School District will be offered a free year's worth of credit monitoring in a deal reached by district officials.

The offer is a substantial change from district officials' initial plan to offer former employees credit monitoring at a discounted rate, after a laptop containing personal information was stolen from a district finance office last week.

On Tuesday, district Finance Director Dale Mellor reached a deal with Equifax to offer credit monitoring to all 1,351 people whose names and Social Security numbers were on the laptop stolen from his office. The coverage will cost the district $20,000, a steep discount from the $52,000 originally quoted.

The coverage, Equifax Credit Watch Gold, will include customizable alerts for any changes to credit activity, access to credit reports and $20,000 in identity theft protection with no deductible.

"We really felt the best thing to do was to cover everybody's (credit monitoring), but we couldn't find the $52,000," Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said.

The district has started mailing letters containing Equifax identification numbers to everyone affected by the theft. Those numbers, along with included instructions, can be used to set up credit monitoring accounts.

The Credit Watch Gold is the same plan originally offered to the district's 423 current employees.

Former Soda Creek Elementary School Principal Steve Kaufman, who said Monday he was outraged by the district's initial plan to charge former employees $40 for the optional coverage, said Tuesday that he is glad to hear the district is covering the cost.

"For years in the district, at both of the elementary schools at least, we had signs up in the building that said 'Do the right thing,' and I think this was the right thing," Kaufman said.

Kaufman said he still was concerned about what will happen after a year when the credit monitoring expires and the district no longer is paying for coverage.

"It's a year's worth of supposed protection, but (the threat) doesn't go away. I guess the only thing that might make it go away is if the police get lucky and get a break and get the computer and realize that the information hasn't been compromised," he said.

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