A surprising development Thursday in Towson morning as former Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury. The plea came at the start of Dance’s trial. According the plea deal reached between Dance and the office of the state prosecutor, Dance will be sentenced to 5 years prison, with all but 18 months suspended.
If he had been convicted, Dance could have faced 10 years behind bars on each count.
The 36-year old dance abruptly resigned in April of last year from the state's third largest school system, offering no reason for his departure. He was in his first year of his 2nd contract—a 4 year deal, paying him $287,000 annually.
Interim BCPS Superintendent Verletta White issued the following statement about Dance's plea agreement:
“We are saddened by the news but trust the judicial process. Now, we must stay focused on our students, our school system, and the important work of teaching and learning that takes place in classrooms every day. Our 113,000 students, 21,000 employees, and the Baltimore County Public Schools community deserve no less."
White succeeded Dance in leading the Baltimore County School System. She too, was scrutinized for failing to disclose consulting fees received, i.e., accepting compensation for participating in a program in her capacity as a school official. The Panel noted, however, that while “the Financial Disclosure Statement Instructions, which is a separate document from the Financial Disclosure Statement, indicates that consulting activities were required to be reported on Schedule H of the statement, the truncated instructions at the top of Schedule H on the Financial Disclosure Statement were confusing and unclear as to whether consulting fees, such as the type received by White, were required to be reported."
White said the omission was “an honest mistake. In accepting the Ethics Review Panel’s Opinion and Order, the Board of Education of Baltimore County concluded that this solution “should assure the public that the conduct of public business is not subject to improper influence or the appearance of improper influence and that White’s impartiality and independent judgment will be maintained" and closed the matter.
According to the indictment: Count I alleges that on his Financial Disclosure Form covering 2012, filed under oath in 2013, Dance falsely reported that he had no interest in any companies during 2012 and that he had no sources of earned income other than BCoPS, when in truth he owned Deliberate Excellence Consulting, LLC and was personally paid $ 500.00 by SUPES and $13,500.00 from Synesi.
During 2013, it is alleged that Dance was paid nearly $72,000.00 by Deliberate Excellence Consulting, for services rendered by Dance to Synesi, City of Providence Public Schools and Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Board of Cooperative Education Services. Count II alleges that on August 29, 2016, Dance amended his 2013 Financial Disclosure Statement, filing an addendum under oath stating that he earned no income from Deliberate Excellence Consulting during 2013.
It is alleged in Count III that Dance continued to own Deliberate Excellence Consulting, LLC, and personally had income of about $12,000.00 from other entities, yet reported under oath on his 2015 Financial Disclosure Statement, file in April, 2016, that he had no business ownership, and that he had no sources of earned income other than BCoPS and “DEC, LLC”.
Finally, Count IV alleges that in August, 2016, Dance amended his Financial Disclosure filing for 2015 by filing an addendum under oath stating that he earned nothing from Deliberate Excellence, LLC in 2015 although he received about $47,000.00 for services rendered by him through the company.
State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt stated: “Parents of Baltimore County Public students should be able to trust that their Superintendent of Schools is carrying out his duties, honestly, with transparency and in the best interests of the students and the schools. Any violation of that trust is intolerable.”