McDonough calls Dance’s job “a conflict of interest”
Monday, 23 December 2013 14:17

County school superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance has been criticized by some, including Del. Pat McDonough, for having a part-time job with a consulting firm that has a contract with Baltimore County Public Schools. file photo

Dance leaves post at SUPES Academy

by Ben Boehl

    Del. Pat McDonough wants answers about Baltimore County Public School (BCPS) Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance’s work for a Chicago consulting firm, which McDonough called “a conflict of interest.”
    The superintendent has been the target of criticism since it was revealed that he held a part-time job with SUPES Academy, a consulting firm for which Dance said he worked one Saturday a month training 10 principals.
    McDonough said Dance’s involvement with SUPES Academy is a conflict of interest because it was reported that Dance approved an $875,000 contract with SUPES to train principals in Baltimore County.
    “Common sense and good judgment would make it clear that since Dr. Dance has enough talent to be a trainer of school principals, he would have the capability of training Baltimore County principals without resorting to using taxpayers’ money for outside consultants,” said the 7th District Republican.
    When the news surfaced, Dance announced he was leaving his position with SUPES Academy.
    “While I stand unequivocally behind the fact that nothing is being done wrong, after re-evaluation, I do believe it is in Baltimore County Public Schools’ best interest for me to not continue in any capacity with the SUPES Academy,” Dance wrote in a letter to the school board which was also shared with the media.
    McDonough said he still wants to see more done by the board and Dance, and he for the county’s contract with SUPES Academy to be terminated.    
    McDonough told The Eagle he wants the board to revise its contract with Dance so the superintendent would be prohibited from taking any such outside jobs in the future.
    McDonough also called for a third-party investigation, saying he is seeking all of the details related to Dance’s involvement with what he called a “$857,000 taxpayer-financed contract” with SUPES Academy. He also wants “the money returned to the taxpayers.”
    This is not the first time that McDonough has been critical of the county school board and Dance.
    McDonough’s criticisms include BCPS’s  plan for  implementing the contentious Common Core program; he said he plans to introduce legislation to fight the program.
    McDonough said he will introduce bills to repeal Common Core standards in Baltimore County and mandate that Baltimore County be required to disclose all revenue dedicated to the implementation of the standards.
    He also wants to create a Common Core Standards Commission that would consist of Baltimore County stakeholders, including teachers and parents, and would conduct public meetings to answer questions related to Common Core.
    McDonough added that he supports the Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO) in its grievance against the county school board claiming that Common Core is resulting in longer work hours.
    McDonough said that with Common Core, a new teacher evaluation system, re-districting in some school zones, instituting a new high school schedule and producing a 10-year facilities plan, Dance has too busy a schedule to allow for outside consulting work.
    “With all the activity and chaos we have in our school system, to the point where teachers are filing a grievance, Dr. Dance should be devoting 24/7 to the classroom and has no spare time to work at such a job,” McDonough said. 
    “Baltimore County children should be his only responsibility.”
    McDonough said he also wants to see changes to the school board and will introduce a bill toward that end in the upcoming General Assembly session.
    His proposal would create a new board that would consist of seven elected members, one from each County Council district, and four members appointed by the county executive.
    “The current controversy is another in a series of incidents making it clear the board of education in Baltimore County lacks transparency and accountability,” McDonough  said.
 “Baltimore County’s teachers, parents and children deserve better.”