Once a rising star, landing education jobs beyond his years, former Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Dallas Dance's years of deception over six-figure consulting fees have resulted in a six-month jail sentence.
"As the court pointed out, it's not so much at this point a matter of punishing Dr. Dance as much as it is sending that message to the community---not just school officials, but all public officials,” said Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt, “When you're in a position of trust and you abuse that trust, it is extremely harmful to the public and it just simply can't be tolerated."
Last month, Dance pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury after lying on disclosure forms about $147,000 in fees he received moonlighting on the side as a consultant.
Another former superintendent, Robert Dubel, told the judge that Dance's actions had shaken the trust of the county's more than 100,000 students.
"Do you think they're hurting right now?" we asked Dubel.
"Well, I can speak for myself. I am," he responded.
Dance's attorneys argued that the former superintendent had simply filled out some forms incorrectly, just like his successor, Verletta White, who just landed his old job on a permanent basis.
"I think that's still a big concern lots of people have in their mind," said School Board Member Roger Hayden, who cast his vote against hiring White.
But the state's top prosecutor disagrees.
"You know, I don't want to comment on Miss White's behavior, but we're all familiar with what the Statement of Facts were here,” said Davitt, “This was a prolonged thing. This was lying to the board. This was a clear motivation. I think the Statement of Facts set forth there was a clear motivation to deceive. So, in that sense, it seems very different from anything else that I've heard."
Dance was technically sentenced to five years on each count with all, but six months suspended.
He will report to the Baltimore County Detention Center to begin serving that time next week, and he'll have two years of supervised probation and 700 hours of community service awaiting him when he gets out.
Dance signed off on the state prosecutor's account of how he willfully sought to make money with companies that lured school administrators to meet with tech companies seeking lucrative contracts with school systems claiming as far back as 2012 that he had a "need for additional income due to his divorce".