A Baltimore County grand jury indicted former superintendent S. Dallas Dance on Tuesday for allegedly not reporting on financial disclosure statements more than $140,000 in income he received from companies working with the county school system.
Dance was charged with four counts of perjury for lying on statements filed in 2012, 2013 and 2105, according to the Office of the State Prosecutor.
“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,” state prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt said in a statement. “Any violation of that trust is intolerable.”
Andrew Jay Graham, a lawyer for Dance, declined to comment on the charges. Graham is with Kramon & Graham P.A. in Baltimore. Dance also is represented by Michalle N. Lipkowitz of Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP in Baltimore.
The indictment alleges that between July and December 2012, Dance negotiated and signed a no-bid contract between the school system and SUPES Academy LLC while also working for SUPES and a related company.
Dance falsely reported that he had no interest in any companies during 2012 or earned income outside of the school system, according to the indictment. He also allegedly received income for consulting services in 2013 and 2015 but denied it on his disclosure forms, which were signed under penalty of perjury, according to the indictment.
The indictment claims Dance amended his financial statements in 2013 and 2015 stating under oath that he earned no income from his company, Deliberate Excellence Consulting LLC, in those years but had in fact been paid by the company.
In 2012, Dance was paid $500 by SUPES and $13,500 from Synesi Associates LLC, according to the indictment. He was then paid $72,000 by Deliberate Consulting in 2013 and $47,000 in 2015 as well as $12,000 in income from other entities, according to the indictment.
‘Surprised and saddened’
Verletta White, the school system’s interim superintendent who replaced Dance, said in a statement she was “surprised and saddened” by the indictment but noted there were no charges brought against her or current officials.
“I have full confidence in the integrity of our staff and organization as a whole,” White said. “We will stay focused and continue to work diligently to provide the best education possible for our more than 113,000 students.”
A spokesperson for the Office of the State Prosecutor declined to comment on whether there are any ongoing investigations into other school system officials.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said the allegations, if true, “are not only extremely disappointing but inexcusable.”
Dance was 30 years old when he was hired as superintendent in 2012 after serving as chief school officer for the Houston Independent School District. He resigned as superintendent in April, one year into a new four-year contract. A school board ethics probe had previously found Dance committed violations by not reporting his interest in Deliberate Excellence or income earned as an adjunct professor.
In 2013, he came under fire for working with SUPES, a principal training company. Dance was contracted to train principals in Chicago. He quit the job after criticism and committed to not take any other side jobs while serving as schools chief.
During his time at the top, Baltimore County saw mixed results in some performance measures.
In 2012, county students averaged a composite 1474 SAT score. By 2016 that average was down to 1336.
At the same time, four-year high school graduation rates improved. In 2012, 84 percent of students graduated high school in four years. In 2016, 89 percent of students graduated in four years.