Former Baltimore County (Md.) School Superintendent Dallas Dance has been ordered to serve six months in jail for failing to disclose income while he led the district.
The Baltimore Sun reports that a judge officially sentenced Dance, 37, Friday to five years in prison, but all except six months of the sentence was suspended.
Dance pleaded guilty last month to four counts of perjury for failing to disclose income for part-time consulting work, including payments from a company that won a no-bid contract with the school system with his help. Dance also received two years probation and must serve 700 hours of community service.
Dance resigned from the superintendent's job last summer. Verletta White was named interim superintendent at that point, and the school board decided just this week in a split vote to appoint her as permanent superintendent.
Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet Davitt argued that Dance should serve jail time for deliberately betraying the trust of students and teachers.
“This case is not about a lax of judgment,” Davitt told Circuit Judge Kathleen Cox.
He said the former superintendent engaged in a continuing pattern of “blatant deceit” from the day he was hired by lying about outside consulting jobs.
Dance continually accepted outside work and lied to the school board and ethics panel about his behavior, Davitt said.
“At any stage this could have stopped and it didn’t,” he said.
Dance's attorney, Andrew Graham, said his client’s perjury for not reporting consulting work to the school board did not inflict "immeasurable harm" on the district, as prosecutors contended.
If filing incorrect forms created immeasurable harm, Graham asserted, why has the Baltimore County school board hired White as the new superintendent?
White has not been charged with any crimes for failing to disclose consulting work she received from one of the several companies that Dance worked for during his tenure. But the district's ethics panel determined White violated disclosure rules for failing to report the income.