County school superintendent's ties to consulting company raise red flags [Letter]

December 18, 2013

For Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance, a relative novice, to take on a consulting job advising principals in the Chicago school system is both puzzling and troubling ("Dance quits consulting job with company doing business with school system," Dec. 14).

For him to dismiss this inappropriate action as simply "a distraction" is a totally inadequate assessment that denigrates the seriousness of the situation.

How can someone in his position not comprehend the wording in his contract with the Baltimore County schools? Surely he must understand that the words "prior approval" for consulting work means that permission must be granted before he accepted the job with the Illinois-based SUPES Academy.

Having been employed in his current position in Baltimore County for only 18 months, and being faced with such critical issues as the Common Core quagmire, redistricting, facilities planning, a new high school schedule and a new teacher evaluation system, it is difficult to imagine why Mr. Dance would even consider accepting consulting work in Chicago in his spare time.

Moreover, since the Baltimore County School Board spent $875,000 of taxpayer funds to hire SUPES in a no bid, three-year training contract to coach local principals, it is quite clear the superintendent's professional expertise is needed right here, in the school system that is paying Mr. Dance $260,000 a year. The administrators Mr. Dance should be training are those for whom he has primary responsibility in his BCPS job.

One must wonder about the propriety of Mr. Dance's connections with SUPES Academy. For the superintendent to insist that he did nothing wrong shows a serious lack of prudence and judgment.

Penny Noval, Timonium

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