Dance’s past ethics violations unsettles teachers


Maria Eberhart, Editor-in-Chief

Abruptly announcing his resignation 11 months ago, former Baltimore County Public School Superintendent Dallas Dance pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury March 8 for failing to disclose payments totaling $147,000 from consulting work and speaking engagements.

Business teacher Pat Holt was alarmed by the absence of integrity from a county official.

“I had a lot of hope for what he was trying to accomplish and I certainly expected ethics and morals from him. It is really disappointing that our leaders would stoop to that level,” Holt said.

One of the companies that employed Dance as a consultant, Education Research & Development Institute, had clients that were awarded contracts with BCPS for education technology without competitive bidding.

Social studies teacher Phil Bressler was concerned by Baltimore County school board’s lack of oversight during the bidding process.

“There’s supposed to be multiple bids. He [Dance] might not have, but you’re supposed to. The board really dropped the ball,” Bressler said.

ERDI also employed the current interim superintendent, Verletta White. White has since ended her association with the company and will refrain from consulting work during her tenure on account of her violations of ethics rules when failing to disclose consulting fees to the board.

Spanish teacher Maureen Burke stresses that educational consulting work too often leads to conflicts of interest.

“If you have outside interests, like consulting, honestly, you should not be superintendent,” Burke said.

Burke also emphasized the importance of a superintendent’s undivided attention on the well-being of the school system.

“I don’t understand how he [Dance] had any time to do anything outside of his work. Shouldn’t a superintendent be busy,” Burke said. “You need to dedicate yourself to your job, especially when you’re high-ranking. “

Science teacher Marty Stranathan agreed that superintendents should not be allowed to accept outside consulting work.

“They are the ones deciding on contracts. When you’re head of an organization, you need to make sure you’re not taking money from companies that will actually be part of a bidding process,” Stranathan said.

Stranathan also said that working as a non-contractual consultant would be acceptable.

When asked if White could be the next superintendent despite past ethic violations, science teacher Mark Glaeser did not mince words.

“I don’t see how she could be,” Glaeser said.