School board says Dance should have gotten its OK before taking consulting job

Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance should have sought the school board's approval before taking a consulting job with a company that had a contract with the system, board President Lawrence Schmidt said Tuesday night.

Schmidt said in a statement that the board has directed Dance to let members know in advance of any proposed consulting work in the future.


The board has reviewed Dance's contract and the school system's ethics policy and has found that "there is no indication that Dr. Dance's performance as superintendent was in any way adversely impacted" by the consulting, according to Schmidt.

The board spoke with Dance at a closed-door meeting Tuesday about his part-time job with SUPES Academy, an Illinois-based company that provides training for administrators.

The board approved a $875,000 contract with SUPES Academy on Dec. 4, 2012, to train about 25 principals a year for three years. Eight months later, Dance took a $15,000 part-time job with SUPES to train 10 Chicago Public School principals but did not inform the board.

Dance is allowed under his contract to take a part-time job, but only if he obtains the board's approval first and if the work does not interfere with his duties as superintendent. He said Friday that he thought he only had to report on any outside work once a year.

According to the school board's statement, the board became aware of the arrangement "through various news accounts and stories of the consulting agreement between Dr. Dance and SUPES."

"We appreciate that any contract can be interpreted in different ways and take Dr. Dance at his word that he understood that such an arrangement needed only to be disclosed to the board as part of his annual report," according to the statement.

After receiving criticism for the job, Dance resigned from SUPES, telling the board in an email Saturday that although he did not believe he had done anything wrong, he didn't want the issue to become a "distraction."

Schmidt said that the board is "pleased that Dr. Dance expeditiously resigned his consulting engagement" and added, "This was the right thing to do."

But the board said the school district didn't need "this issue" at the current time because of other pressing issues. The county has been criticized over its implementation of the new Common Core curriculum.

Dance has said he would donate any money he earned from SUPES, after travel expenses, toward a scholarship with the Baltimore County Educational Foundation. But he told the board that he had not yet been paid by SUPES. Schmidt said the board has asked for verification that the foundation didn't receive any money from Dance.