Dallas Dance, who left his post as superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools suddenly last spring, is facing decades of jail time on perjury charges for allegedly failing to disclose more than $145,000 in supplemental income from his consulting business between 2012 and 2015.
Dance has been charged with four counts of perjury, each carrying 10 years of prison time. An indictment alleges he neglected in 2012 to report $14,000 in combined payments from SUPES Academy, an Illinois-based firm that trains school principals, and a related consulting firm called Synesi Associates, sent to his consulting firm, Deliberate Excellence; $72,000 earned from Synesi and two school districts in 2013; and $59,000 in combined payments from various entitites in 2015.
That total of more than $145,000 in undisclosed income included payments from school systems in Richland County, S.C., Pasadena, Calif., Providence, R.I., and Ithaca, N.Y., and from private entities such as the Educational Research and Development Institutes and the American Institutes for Research, among others.
The indictment also says SUPES Academy and Synesi paid Dance $90,000 in 2012 for negotiating a contract with the county school system, “in part directly and in part indirectly” through Deliberate Excellence.
“Parents of Baltimore County Public students should be able to trust that their Superintendent of Schools is carrying out his duties, honestly, with transparency and in the best interests of the students and the schools,” said State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt in a statement. “Any violation of that trust is intolerable.”
Dance, who earned recognition for his implementation of language-learning and technology-driven education initiatives during his four years helming Baltimore County Public Schools, resigned abruptly in April of last year, just after his contract had been renewed. He was making $287,800 in annual salary, along with an $18,200 pension and a publicly financed car, among other perks.
The Sun reported months later that state prosecutors were investigating him when he resigned.
Verletta White, who was tapped as Dance’s replacement last year, said in a statement Tuesday that the school system is “surprised and saddened” by the charges.
“It is important to note, there are no accusations of wrongdoing by the current administration or me,” she pointed out. “I have full confidence in the integrity of our staff and organization as a whole. We will stay focused and continue to work diligently to provide the best education possible for our more than 113,000 students.”
White has not been charged, but she has faced similar accusations in past years for reportedly failing to disclose income she made as a consultant for Chicago-based Education Research & Development Institute while similarly also working for the school system. In November, The Sun reported a parent filed an ethics complaint with the school district over White’s alleged lack of reporting on previous consulting income.
White wrote in an email to school system employees that it was an “honest mistake,” but said it didn’t pose a conflict of interest with her work.
SUPES Academy reached an $875,000 contract with Baltimore County Public Schools in 2012, not long after Dance became superintendent, to train principals over a period of three years.
The company has since gone under. Its co-owners, Gary Solomon (also formerly co-owner of Synesi) and Barbara Byrd-Bennett, formerly superintendent of Chicago Public Schools are now serving prison time after being convicted of fraud charges stemming from a bribery scandal involving Chicago schools.
This story has been updated.
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