Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concern Thursday about the indictment of former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance, whom he believes “was apparently taking bribes.”
But Dance was not charged with taking bribes. He was indicted on four counts of perjury.
The indictment, handed down Tuesday by a Baltimore County grand jury, alleges Dance failed to disclose nearly $147,000 in pay he received for private consulting with several companies and school districts beginning in 2012. Dance was required to report the pay on financial disclosure forms he filled out annually.
The charges allege Dance negotiated a no-bid contract between the school system and Chicago-based SUPES Academy in 2012 while he was earning approximately $90,000 from the company without telling the school system.
“I’m outraged at the discovery the previous superintendent was apparently taking bribes and not disclosing this money, and making decisions with hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money and he’s got these indictments, I guess he’s still got a court case to go forward,” Hogan said at a press conference.
When Hogan’s spokesman was asked to clarify the statement later in the day, Douglass Mayer said: “Mr. Dance was paid by a vendor, didn't disclose it, and then gave the same contractor a no-bid contract. You do the math.”
At the press conference, Hogan went on to say he is concerned by the fact that interim Baltimore County school superintendent Verletta White is “also taking money from the same people and also not disclosing it.”
White is expected to meet with Baltimore County’s state senators Friday morning to answer questions about the school system’s purchasing rules. Hogan said he was glad she would be asked to “answer some pointed questions.”
White, who was the chief academic officer under Dance, was a consultant for Education Research & Development Institute for several years. She did not report the income, which was about $3,000 a year, on her forms. She said this fall that the failing was a mistake and she would correct the form. She agreed she will not take any outside compensation and will limit her travel to trips the board approves in advance.
Hogan said the developments in Baltimore County, as well as a scandal over grade-fixing in Prince George’s County schools, highlight the importance of a legislative package he proposed to improve school officials’ accountability to state leaders.
“Some of this is criminal behavior and we’ve got to get to the bottom of it,” Hogan said. “We’re going to push our multiple accountability measures. We provide all the money and then we don’t have any real authority. We’re having some real problems.”
The governor suggested that he had heard the Baltimore County school board was considering giving information to the Maryland State Prosecutor who brought the case against Dance. Several county board members either didn't respond to requests for comment or said they weren’t aware of what Hogan was talking about.
Dance is alleged to have falsely stated on financial disclosure forms filed with the county school district that he earned no additional income personally or through his consulting company, Deliberate Excellence, in 2012, 2013 and 2015.
In December 2012, the Baltimore County school board awarded SUPES Academy a $875,000 no-bid contract to train principals in the county school system. Ten months later, Dance took a job with the same company to train Chicago public school principals. Between Nov. 2012 and Nov. 2013, SUPES paid $90,000 to Deliberate Excellence, according to the indictment.