Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs sent a letter to Arizona Department of Education Superintendent Tom Horne requesting detailed plans for protecting the personal data of Arizona students and families following a data breach that impacted students.

The Department of Education uses ClassWallet for the financial administration of its Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESA) program. ClassWallet recently suffered a data breach, which prompted activation of the state Incident Response Team at the Arizona Department of Homeland Security.

Gov. Hobbs noted in a press release that following the data breach, two high ranking ESA officials suddenly and unexpectedly resigned. She said this raises concerns and questions about the administration of the ESA voucher program and the protection of student data.

“It is my responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our state, our agencies, and our people,” said Gov. Hobbs. “Arizona students and families deserve to know that proper measures are in place to protect their personal information. I look forward to Superintendent Horne’s prompt response and appreciate the Department’s cooperation with the Arizona Department of Homeland Security.”

In the letter, Gov. Hobbs requests answers on multiple questions, including:

  • How is Horne’s administration responding to the data breach that occurred through ClassWallet and what actions are being taken to prevent a similar event in the future?
  • How have ESA parents been notified of the unauthorized data disclosure of their child’s personal information?
  • What steps is Horne’s administration taking to address any potential violations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act’s (FERPA) release of education records provision and disclosure consent requirements?
  • What steps is Horne’s administration taking to address any potential violations of state statutes relating to student data privacy?
  • Has Horne referred this matter to the Attorney General for an investigation under the consumer fraud statutes?
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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs