City school files related to computer system stolen

January 29, 2004|By Tanika White | Tanika White,SUN STAFF

Boxes of files related to the Baltimore school district's beleaguered new computer system have been stolen from a school official's office, according to investigators looking into contracts related to the system and a police report.

Howard C. Steptoe, who oversees the computer project for the schools, reported last month that three boxes of files containing invoices and other documents - related to contractors working on the $16 million Human Resources Management System project - had been stolen from his office.

Steptoe, who is also in charge of business and finance systems in the school district, declined to comment further because the theft is under investigation.

"It does concern me," schools chief Bonnie S. Copeland said.

She said the disappearance of the files would not interfere with school business because the information technology department had copies of the documents.

The school system is trying to iron out myriad problems associated with the costly computer system.

Last month, Copeland asked State Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli's office to review the contract of one private consultant who earned more than $600,000 in 18 months working on the computer system.

James I. Cabezas, chief investigator for Montanerelli, said the school system alerted his office to the theft of the files related to the project.

Last month, the two top schools officials overseeing the computer project were abruptly fired. Joseph Kirkman, chief technology officer, and Shelia Dudley, director of human resources, had come under increasing criticism for problems associated with the installation of the computer system.

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