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Baltimore County School Board continues to weigh options for next superintendent

A Baltimore County schools spokeswoman retracted an earlier statement in which she said that the school board plans to begin a nationwide search for the district’s next superintendent.

Spokeswoman Diana Spencer said that when she confirmed the national search to The Baltimore Sun Wednesday morning, it was “a misunderstanding on my part.” School board Chairman Edward J. Gilliss clarified later that the board still has three options on the table. They could conduct a national search, ask to extend the interim superintendent for another year or decide against a broad search, and potentially hire current interim superintendent, Verletta White. Her one-year contract expires June 30.

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“The school board has three viable options and intends to make sure all three options remains viable,” Gilliss said. “If we’re going to do a national search and do that search before the June 30 deadline, we have to go through an RFP process.”

Gilliss said the school board has merely begun the process of selecting a search firm, but the board has not agreed that a national search is the “only course we have available to us.”

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Six Maryland senators have called on Baltimore County school officials to implement an annual ethics review of the Board of Education, the superintendent and senior staff to spot any potential conflicts of interest and “restore confidence” in the school system.

Gilliss previously told The Baltimore Sun that the school board will discuss the selection of a superintendent behind closed doors.

The search for a new schools leader was prompted by the sudden resignation of former superintendent Dallas Dance last spring. Dance was recently indicted on four counts of perjury for allegedly failing to disclose nearly $147,000 in pay he received for private consulting with several companies and school districts beginning in 2012.

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White, who previously served as the district’s chief academic officer, has also acknowledged that she worked as a consultant for four years without disclosing the payments to the school system or to the public. She was paid about $3,000 for attending twice-yearly conferences at which she gave advice to clients of Education Research & Development Institutes. ERDI represents educational technology companies, some of which have contracts with the school system.

White has since apologized, saying she misunderstood the questions on the disclosure forms. She subsequently amended her disclosure forms. She said she will no longer do outside consulting work and will abide by new restrictions on out-of-state travel.

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