—– By: Ann Costantino —–
Less than two weeks after the former superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, Shaun Dallas Dance, started his jail term in a Henrico County facility, his sentence has been slashed by one third.
S. Dallas Dance, PhD, who led Baltimore County Public Schools from 2012-2017, was sentenced on April 20 to serve six months in jail for four counts of perjury for failing to report roughly $147,000 in income on forms he signed under penalty of perjury.
The former superintendent is now scheduled for a projected early release from the Virginia jail on August 27, 2018, after what will amount to four months of incarceration. Yet, when he was booked 11 days ago, his release date was set for October 27.
In March, the former superintendent pleaded guilty to lying on his financial disclosure statements for reporting years 2012, 2013 and 2015. But in 2016, after an independent ethics panel found him in violation of his contract for failing to disclose income from outside work, he amended his financial disclosure forms to include $80,000 he earned working on the side as a consultant and adjunct professor.
Although Mr. Dance is serving time for withholding $147,000 from his legal forms, as reported by The Baltimore Post in March, between 2012-2016 he earned at least $227,000 teaching and consulting for companies and other school districts while he led the country’s 25th largest school system. During his last year on job with Baltimore County schools, the former superintendent earned a salary of $287,000.
Last month, Baltimore County circuit court judge, Kathleen Cox, sentenced the young education leader to five years in jail, with all but six months suspended. Each of the four perjury charges carried up to a 10-year prison sentence.
Mr. Dance, who turned 37 on the day of his sentencing last month, was to serve his six month sentence at Towson’s Baltimore County Detention Center, but his attorneys asked for a transfer to a jail near his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. The former superintendent turned himself into Henrico County Jail West a week and a half ago.
Henrico County Jail records show that his jail term was shortened within 10 days of being booked by the Henrico County Sheriff’s Office. He is eligible for work release during his incarceration and must also complete 700 hours of community service. Judge Cox also sentenced him to two years of probation.
Mr. Dance has two Inmate Offender ID numbers at the Henrico County jail, yet with different booking dates. His records for both disappear from the inmate search system for part of the day. An official from Henrico County Jail told The Baltimore Post that when he is on work release, his profile is removed from the system. The official was unable to provide further details about his work release.
A spokesperson from the Henrico County Sheriff’s Office told The Post that the Henrico facility is simply holding Mr. Dance during his incarceration, but that his sentence is following Maryland guidelines.
Maryland law states that an inmate serving a “concurrent Maryland sentence in a foreign jurisdiction” may be allowed diminution credits toward a sentence. In some cases those credits must be earned. The range is a deduction from anywhere between five to 20 days per calendar month and includes credits for things like: vocational, educational and training courses, workforce development training and cognitive–behavioral or substance abuse therapy.
In a call with Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt, Mr. Davitt told The Post that there was, “no formal reduction to his sentence. This was not decided by the judge or court system.” He said, ” The judge and court do not have anything to do with reduction,” and that Mr. Dance’s “sentence reduction was not decided at a post sentencing hearing,” but by sentence diminution credits determined likely by the Baltimore County Department of Corrections. Mr. Davitt continued, “people are always surprised by the reduction,” but, he added, “it is pretty standard.” He said he is unsure of the formula used to determine Mr. Dance’s sentence reduction.
Calls to the Baltimore County Department of Corrections were directed to Ellen Kobler, the county’s deputy communications director. Ms. Kobler asked The Post to email the questions. She did not respond.