I totally disagree with the Baltimore County Board of Education chairman’s call for reform and the Baltimore County delegation’s demand for an audit including Baltimore County Public Schools contracts, procurement practices, or relations with vendors (“Baltimore County school board chair assures state senators of contract reform,” March 12). In regard to system executives' ethical compliance, these are failures of the school board to provide sufficient compliance regulations in their hiring procedures.
The BCPS purchasing office has a long history of distinguished service to the school system. As a retired central office media specialist, one of my duties was to create, print, and award A-V equipment, TV equipment, and A-V consumable software bids for the county. I provided the bid documents to purchasing, who mailed them to vendors. I was present at all bid openings and determined awards. "Piggybacking" another jurisdiction's bid was an acceptable purchasing procedure that I employed when its use was in the best interests of BCPS. I approved "riding" other school districts bids as needed throughout my time with the county.
Since Dallas Dance’s "piggybacking" was for a computer bid, the logical procedure for him would have been to go to the person in charge of creating bids for the computer education office. No matter that he went directly to the purchasing director who approved the request. In so doing, it is not accurate to call it a "no bid" contract. Using an existing bid from another school district resulted in it being an approved bid.
The superintendents I served under were good administrators, but they were not change agents. It appears that Mr. Dance was a very successful change agent. He greatly increased student learning for BCPS students. His is a rare gift.
I believe BCPS would best be served if charges were withdrawn against Mr. Dance with the provision that he serve as their superintendent for four years at a reduced salary. Now that would take great courage by the school board.
William L. Reider, Ellicott City
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