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—– By: Ann Costantino —–
In what will likely go down as Baltimore County Public Schools’ most embarrassing occurrence in its 170 year history, former Superintendent S. Dallas Dance surrendered to jail last Friday to begin a six month sentence for failing to declare roughly $147,000 in income on legally binding financial disclosure statements for work he did outside of the school system.
While Mr. Dance’s sentence may mark the end to months of speculation as well as a five year career with Baltimore County Public Schools, still unresolved, however, is any debt he will be required to repay the school system for travel expenses – still being tallied by a reporter – that were paid by Baltimore County while the former superintendent earned the income moonlighting out of state.
The Baltimore post previously reported that Mr. Dance charged Baltimore County schools over $600 for an airline ticket, luggage fees and a seat upgrade for a flight to a conference for the Education Research and Development Institute – also known as ERDI. Mr. Dance failed to disclose income he made as an ERDI consultant that year. It is part of the perjury charges that led to his conviction.
Although sentenced earlier this month to serve his jail time in Baltimore County’s Detention Center in Towson, Maryland starting last Friday, Mr. Dance’s attorneys asked the court for a transfer last week. While Judge Kathleen Cox approved the request, earlier records show that Mr. Dance had initially been processed by Baltimore County officials and was classified as being in “unsupervised custody.”
The transfer sentenced Mr. Dance to serve his jail time where he started his career 17 years ago, in Henrico County, Virginia.
Yet, while Mr. Dance’s return to his home state would seem to cut all ties between he and Baltimore County, the school system’s attempt to #keepmovingforward, while not dwelling in the past, has somehow avoided a widely requested outside audit of its finances. It has also prevented any acknowledgement as to whether or not Mr. Dance will be required to repay the school system for the charges, while begging the question: have other school system employees done the same, having been inspired by their former leader?
A review of thousands of school district documents, obtained through a Maryland Public Information Act request, reveal a busy travel schedule for the former superintendent and various Baltimore County schools employees. But when asking the school system whether or not Mr. Dance or other employees would be required to repay travel charges related to income made for personal benefit, the district’s legal department simply would not answer.
The lack of answers in light of some of the charges, in particular, stopped a reporter mid-search.