A judge has sentenced Baltimore County Public Schools superintendent Dallas Dance to half a year in prison for neglecting to disclose nearly $147,000 in consulting income he earned while overseeing the county school system.
The sentence came down Friday morning at a hearing in Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson, according to a live update from The Sun’s Liz Bowie and Doug Donovan. The sentencing happened to fall on Dance’s 37th birthday.
The former superintendent, who served in his post from 2012 to 2017, had pushed for leniency from the judge in the form of probation and community service, rather than prison time. The Sun reported earlier this week that Dance’s family, colleagues, mentors and mentees submitted 69 letters in all to the court describing him as a hardworking, committed family man, and asking for leniency.
Prosecutors had recommended he serve 18 months of a five-year sentence in prison.
Dance was indicted earlier this year on four counts of perjury, each carrying up to 10 years in prison, for failing to report income from his consulting business, Deliberate Excellence, on ethics disclosure forms from 2012 through 2015. A statement of facts from prosecutors—complete with deposit slips, archived emails and other documentation—lays out how Dance took payments in 2012, 2013 and 2015 from various businesses, including the now-defunct SUPES Academy, and then gave false information on disclosure forms about how much he was paid.
Prosecutors said Dance failed to report $14,000 in combined payments in 2012 from SUPES and a related consulting firm called Synesi Associates; $72,000 from Synesi and school systems in Providence, Rhode Island, and upstate New York in 2013; and additional payments from various clients in 2015.
Before coming to Baltimore County, Dance had been enrolled in a SUPES training program while working in Houston, according to The Sun. The company then gave him consulting work during his first year as superintendent for Baltimore County. SUPES reportedly paid him $90,000 before he stopped working for them after the relationship became public knowledge.
The co-owners of SUPES, which trained school principals, were later convicted of bribery and wire fraud for a kickback scheme involving Chicago public schools.
Dance was making a salary of $287,000, along with an $18,200 annual pension and a publicly financed car, among other perks, when he resigned last year.
Baltimore County Public Schools’ board this week appointed Dance’s former interim replacement, Verletta White, to be his permanent successor as superintendent. White was also found late last year to have failed to disclose consulting income while serving as chief academic officer for Baltimore County Public Schools, The Sun also found.
She amended her disclosure forms in February after an ethics panel found she had violated two school system policies. In an agreement reached with White, the panel barred her from doing any consulting work as superintendent.