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Baltimore County Schools' Retirement Accounts Affected By 2020 Ransomware Attack

TOWSON (WJZ) -- The 2020 ransomware attack on Baltimore County Schools is still affecting the system's financial operations, school system officials confirmed.The district has estimated 8,000 retired educators' pensions are affected, primarily through medical insurance payments."People sign up for medical care coverage at a lower rate expecting that that amount will be taken out of their monthly pension," retired special education teacher Ed Kitlowski said Thursday. "It's an issue monetarily. I think it's an issue with transparency, accountability, and integrity."

Kitlowski and fellow retiree Cindy North say the school system has not been forthcoming in communicating the problem to the system's retirees."We think almost all eight thousand have been affected by this," North said. "And many of them don't know it."

North said, in some cases, retirees are owed thousands of dollars. In other instances, some retirees may end up being billed unexpectedly.Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dr. Darryl Williams told WYPR Tuesday the school system was "back online" two days after the November 2020 ransomware attack, but the issues with retirement benefits continue.A school system spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday:

"BCPS values its retirees and the many years of service and talents they devoted to the students of Baltimore County; for that reason, BCPS is committed to addressing their concerns and supporting their needs as together we continue to recover from the cyberattack of November 2020. BCPS has greatly recovered from the attack, which profoundly impacted our financial operations including those affecting retiree benefits. The school system has retained a contractor to reconcile retiree enrollment and benefits data, including systems through which some retirees were either underpaid or overpaid. Our goal is to resolve these issues as soon as possible."

A consultant, ZC Solutions, LLC, was approved in a January Board of Education meeting to help Human Resources recover from the cyberattack.

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