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Too many unanswered questions about White

Maryland schools superintendent has rejected Verletta White for permanent Baltimore County school superintendent due to ethics violations as well as the school system’s failure to complete an audit of how it awards millions of dollars in contracts. (Algerina Perna, Baltimore Sun video)

In the Sun's editorial on the rejection of Verletta White as permanent superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools ("State rejection of White doesn't add up," May 2), there are a few factors missing from the equation.

Ms. White amended her financial disclosure statements, yet the ethics review panel also found she violated the "prestige of office" rule by accepting such compensation "in her capacity as a school official." Ms. White admitted earning about $12,000 over four years of undisclosed consulting for the Education Research & Development Institute. She has vowed not to consult again, yet has she paid that money back? "Private gain" would remain in violation of BCPS policy, as cited by the ethics panel. A proposed audit of contracts, meanwhile, is not yet conducted, as the state superintendent noted.

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Even more alarmingly, Ms. White has not publicly disclosed ERDI-related companies she met with as the schools' chief academic officer, a role which she oversaw the selection of current ERDI-affiliated BCPS vendors earning multimillion-dollar no-bid contracts. Those taxpayer-funded contracts include a combined $6.4 million for just two software vendors who were also approved under her interim superintendent tenure.

Ms. White should absolutely disclose those companies. She attended these panels and conferences as a taxpayer-paid BCPS official. The public has a right to know companies with which she met. Without that accurate and true information, influence remains unclear.

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Why would the interim superintendent be appointed permanent superintendent with such issues not yet resolved? That certainly would not add up at all.

Joanne C. Simpson, Baltimore

Send letters to the editor to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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