Monthly Archives: January 2018

PGCPS CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell meets with Md. State Board of Education to discuss grade-fixing audit

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Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Dr. Kevin Maxwell

BALTIMORE – The head of Prince George’s County Public Schools faced the Maryland State Board of Education Tuesday, the first time since a troubling state audit showed grade-fixing and policy violations allowed students to graduate without meeting state requirements.

At the hearing, state board members pressed Dr. Kevin Maxwell on the root causes of the findings and whether there has been a shift in culture in the school system.

“It seems like something is going on here,” said Maryland State Board of Education President Andrew Smarick. “I don’t want to go too far, but it seems like some signal, something is happening to suggest to schools, to teachers, to someone, ‘We gotta graduate these students irrespective of some of these rules we have.’ And that is what I have been grappling with here.”

Smarick noted some of the most outstanding audit findings — grade changes that could not be verified, late changes to student transcripts and students graduating despite more than 50 unexcused absences.

In response to questions about the driving forces behind the audit findings, Maxwell spoke about staff confusion on grade change forms, lack of automation, high staff turnover and people who were not clear on policies. He emphasized the audit found no intimidation or fraud by him or his staff.

After the hearing, FOX 5 asked him again about the underlying causes of the problems uncovered.

“The audit, I think, gave us a very good roadmap to the fact that there are some issues that need clarification, there are some procedures that need to be updated, there is a lot of training and there are some compliance issues,” Maxwell said.

At one point, a school board member asked whether emphasis on graduation rates by the state and federal government was to blame, but Maxwell did not agree that outside pressure was a factor.

Maxwell and his staff outlined their plan to correct what was found by the audit and the ways the school district is tightening up policies, putting more oversight in place and retraining staff.

Janna Parker, a Prince George’s County community member who attended the meeting, said the plan is a good first step, but feels what she did not see from Maxwell was accountability at the top.

“I think when you base any plan on not fully accepting accountability or placing the accountability on who and where it needs to be, it’s flawed plan,” Parker said.

When asked about Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent statement that some of what is going on in Prince George’s County Public Schools is criminal, Maxwell said he did not agree with the governor.

Smarick said the state board is now going to decide how and if the state will intervene in the school system and what is legally possible. He said there should be decisions made by the next meeting in February.

There could be another audit, and while there has been no public talk of the state taking over Prince George’s County Public Schools, it is something that’s happened in other states.

After the meeting on Tuesday, the state released graduation rates for districts across the state. Prince George’s County had a record high of 82.7 percent for 2017.

via Fox 5DC  >>>Read more >>>Washington Post

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Paying to play in Baltimore County Schools; Is it in similar lines OR worse with PGCPS system?

 

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Both interim superintendent Verletta White and former superintendent Dallas Dance worked as consultants to travel twice a year to conferences where they and other school administrators from around the nation would meet privately in three hour sessions with executives of companies that produce education technology for school districts.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Once a rising star in education circles, Former Superintendent Dallas Dance faces perjury charges for failing to report consulting fees in the six figures, and to a lesser degree, Interim Superintendent Verletta White, never reported more modest fees she received on an yearly basis.

State Senator James Brochin (D-Baltimore County) says that double-dipping has to stop.

“She said it was an oversight over four years and each year she was supposed to report outside income, and we may have a legislative fix for that,” said Brochin, “Senator Jennings and I have put a piece of legislation in that we’ve just ordered that said from now on, any superintendent can’t have any outside income. I mean, my goodness, you’re got $259,000 a year, you get a car, you get a housing allowance, you get a credit card to go to lunch and breakfast with people all the time. I mean, ‘Enough!'”

Despite initial resistance by school administrators, Brochin insisted on an audit of some of the spending practices in the Baltimore County Schools system, and questions surround what access companies received due to dance and whites’ outside work.

Brochin says at the heart of the matter is a Chicago-based company called Education Research and Development Institute or ERDI, which offered free flights and easy money to administrators while charging tech companies to give them exclusive access to them.

“You can do a bronze membership for $5,000, a silver member ship for $8,000 or a gold membership for $10,000 and they’re guaranteeing sit downs, and I just thought it was a very unusual way of doing business,” said Brochin, “It didn’t pass the smell test for me.”

State senators will question White over those relationships in Annapolis on Friday raising concerns, which may extend well beyond a failure to report making money on the side.

“I had never seen so many no-bid contracts and the problem and the reason I don’t think we’re finished with this dilemma is some of these no-bid contracts were in direct relationship to the meetings that ERDI facilitated between the technology companies and the former superintendent and the current superintendent,” said Brochin.

House leaders from Baltimore County also plan to question White in two weeks, and they, like their Senate counterparts, are expected to question the school board’s ability or lack of it in providing oversight as the outside work and no-bid contracts unfolded.

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Ardra O’Neal involved in criminal undertaking of defrauding employees while working closely with employers in malicious undertaking.

PGCPS system and the Culture of pay to play as a training ground for Many Counties in Maryland and payoff of lawyers to derail proceedings

Board of Education for Prince George’s County has in the last several years engaged in an organized scheme to defraud the public as part of the culture of pay to play working closely with THE O’NEAL LAW FIRM, LLP; THATCHER LAW FIRM; SULLIVAN, TALBOTT & BATT; BRYAN CHAPMAN; RMA & ASSOCIATES, LLC; ROBERT E. CAPPELL; HARDNETT & ASSOCIATES; BRADFORD ASSOCIATES; PESSIN KATZ LAW, P.A.; MARYLAND STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION; ASSOCIATION OF SUPERVISORY & ADMINISTRATIVE SCHOOL; MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION; C. SUKARI HARDNETT, LLC and other co-conspirators have engaged in an ongoing willful endeavor to engage in criminal undertaking while defrauding Plaintiffs in a variety of settings which is ongoing both criminal and civil activities throughout Maryland, Washington DC and virginia (DMV).

That, these illegal actions are being coordinated through a number of unethical events in conspiracy with other parties in Maryland, Virginia and in Washington DC and involve public corruption fueled by the Kleptocracy regimes on several levels with epicenter being in Prince George’s County Maryland and Washington DC.

These illegal activities are ongoing in nature as part of racketeering activity organized by the Thatcher Law Firm on behalf of the Board of Education for Prince George’s County after receiving more than $5 million dollars starting during the tenure of Dr. William Hite Jr. These illegal schemes have other participants starting with the Maryland office of the Attorney General, Maryland State Department of Education, Prince George’s County office of the county Executive and the AFSCME International Union et al.

UNION CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

There is a strong coordination starting with former employees of prince George’s county education association (PGCEA)  union. The many former senior officers starting with Christian Rhodes, current director of Labor relations and others in the other unions with ties to Maryland state Education Association (MSEA), have created a conflicts of interests so strong that it’s grounding educational outcomes in the Prince George’s County.

To make the matters worse, the Chairman of the board who is brother in law to County Executive Rushern Baker works for the mother-ship National Education Association (NEA). In this kind of situation, any grievance brought about will certainly will not work due to concealment of the issues. As a result, hundreds of students and staff are impacted.  Many of the senior union officials are simply lining up their pockets as the staff and children in the county suffer real damages.

In addition, besides being the President of PGCEA, Hon. Theresa Mitchell Dudley also serves in the Democratic Central committee for Prince George’s county. Does the later role also create a strong conflict of interest with the county? How does serving the teachers and Democratic Central committee for Prince George’s county serve the interest of teachers?

(more to come)

BOYCOTT THESE LAW-FIRMS AND ORGANIZATIONS OPERATING IN MARYLAND INVOLVED IN MAJOR FRAUD

  1.  THE O’NEAL LAW FIRM, LLP;
  2. THATCHER LAW FIRM;
  3. SULLIVAN, TALBOTT & BATT;
  4. BRYAN CHAPMAN;
  5. RAOUF ABDULLAH & RMA & ASSOCIATES, LLC;
  6. ROBERT E. CAPPELL;
  7. HARDNETT & ASSOCIATES;
  8. BRADFORD ASSOCIATES;
  9. PESSIN KATZ LAW, P.A.;
  10. MARYLAND STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION;
  11. ASSOCIATION OF SUPERVISORY & ADMINISTRATIVE SCHOOL;
  12. MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION;
  13. C. SUKARI HARDNETT, LLC 
  14. CALIFORNIA CASUALTY INDEMNITY EXCHANGE
  15. MARYLAND OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL 
  16. PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY OFFICE OF THE COUNTY EXCUTIVE
  17. ROGER THOMAS AND The Law Office of Roger C. Thomas, Esquire
  18. AFSCME International Union
  19. ACE-AFSCME LOCAL 2250
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Linda Hitt Thatcher is the managing member of the Thatcher Law Firm, LLC in Greenbelt, Maryland – The firm received more than $5 million dollars which has been used to pay off lawyers over the years under the table.

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state prosecutors are investigating former Baltimore County school superintendent Dallas Dance and his relationship with a company that did business with the school system.

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State Board Meeting Jan. 30, Prince Georges County Audit Response

marylandstateboardofeducationofficeseal.jpg9:05 a.m.     PUBLIC COMMENT
Persons desiring to speak to the State Board, must call (410-767-0467) or e-mail (charlene.necessary@maryland.gov)

9:35 a.m.   Prince Georges County Audit Response

At past meetings, board members were critical of PGCPS and Baltimore City schools for abusing the “Bridge” loophole,  students doing “projects” as a substitute for passing the state tests.  It is appropriate for special education students.
State wide 11% of graduates have used it.  In Prince George’s County,  24% of graduates have used it.

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MSDE State Board Meeting Agenda January 30, 2018

MEETING OF THE MARYLAND STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building
200 West Baltimore Street – 7th Floor Board Room
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2595

9:00 a.m.                                              CALL MEETING TO ORDER
Andrew R. Smarick, President

                                                              PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

9:01 a.m.                                               CONSENT AGENDA ITEMS
                                                              Andrew R. Smarick, President

•   Approval of Minutes of December 4 and 5, 2017
•   Personnel
•   Budget Adjustments, December 2017

9:05 a.m.                                                      PUBLIC COMMENT

9:35 a.m.                                          INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION

•  Update on U.S. Department of Education’s Feedback on ESSA Plan
•  Prince Georges County Audit Response

10:50 a.m.                                                             BREAK

11:05 a.m.                                                             ACTION 

•  2017-2018 Identification of “Comprehensive Needs” Schools for
Purpose of Awarding Quality Teacher Stipends

11:20 a.m.                                      INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION

•  Baltimore City Schools Update
•  State Board Reports and Planning
•    Committee Updates
•   Kirwan Commission
•   Policy Review
•   Additional Reports

•    Review Tentative Items for February 26-27, 2018 Meeting
•   Bridge Accountability Recommendations
•   Early Childhood
•   Educational Testing Service (ETS)
•   Legislative Update
•   Graduation Rates
•   Definitions for “At-Risk”
•   Superintendent’s Report
•    Regulatory Actions
•    Board Member Updates/Comments

12:30 p.m.                                     ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION

2:00 p.m.                                                     RECOGNITION 

•  Maryland Secondary School Assistant Principal of the Year

2:15 p.m.                                        INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION

•  Superintendent’s Report

•    Report on Graduation Cohort Data

•    Updates:
–  Responses to State Board’s Bridge & Graduation Questions
–  Financial Literacy
–  ESSA Participation Rate

3:00 p.m.                                                            ACTION

•  Regulations
•  COMAR 13A.03.02 Graduation Requirements for Public High Schools in MD
(ADOPTION)
•  COMAR 13A.03.04 Test Administration and Data-Reporting Policies and Procedures
(AMEND–PERMISSION TO PUBLISH)
•  COMAR 13A.12.01.04 Options for Obtaining Initial Maryland Certification
(AMEND–PERMISSION TO PUBLISH)
•  COMAR 13A.12.01.05 General Requirements for Professional Certificates
(AMEND–PERMISSION TO PUBLISH)
•  COMAR 13A.12.01.08-1 Adjunct Certificate
(NEW–PERMISSION TO PUBLISH)
•  COMAR 13A.12.03.04 Pupil Personnel Worker
(AMEND–PERMISSION TO PUBLISH)dkf2osdx0aaba9j.jpg

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Krystal Oriadha Seeks Dem Nod for District 7 Council Seat

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Activist and committee co-chair for Progressive Maryland, Krystal Oriadha

Capitol Heights, MD – Activist and committee co-chair for Progressive Maryland, Krystal Oriadha will formally announce her Democratic candidacy for Prince George’s County Council District 7 at her Campaign Kick-Off event on Sunday, January 28, 2018 from 3PM-5PM located at Uniqek Banquet Hall 3130 Branch Avenue, Temple Hills, MD. Krystal will be speaking at 4PM.

District 7 is located on the western central portion of the county and much of it borders the Southeast and Northeast quadrants of the Washington, D.C. In addition to the town of Capitol Heights, the district consists of Seat Pleasant, District Heights, Marlow Heights, Hillcrest Heights, Suitland, Temple Hills, and portions of Forestville and Oxon Hill.

District 7 is 91 percent Black, according to the American Community Survey from 2011-2015. The incumbent in the seat is Karen Toles (D). She has held the position since 2009 and, by law, cannot by law run for a third term.

Krystal is against corruption in politics which is why she is advocating for fair elections that would take money out of politics which is a big part of the problem. In her effort to run for public office, She has out-raised all of her competitors, and has the highest bank account balance. She accomplished this without accepting ANY money from developer or the unions.

Krystal is an ACTIVIST! Not just another politician. She is running to help uplift the voice of our community, not to be just another elected official.

As a member of the County Council, Krystal will fight to improve our education system, economic development, and overall quality of life. She will champion community schools, living wages, access to jobs, ending food deserts with community gardens and co-ops, healthcare, and criminal justice reform.

She believes that for too long, we have seen our neighborhoods developed only for many residents to be pushed out so others can reap the benefits. We have watched as the education system has failed our children and teachers have not been provided the support and respect they deserve for shaping the minds of our future.
“We must all take responsibility and share the burden of building a community we can be proud of. That is part of the reason I am running. We need to step up and DEMAND BETTER for ourselves and DO BETTER for our community!” Krystal said.

Krystal has dedicated her life to helping others and has over a decade of experience in political activism. She has worked with Human Resources Achievement Program (HRAP) as the Communications Director focused on breaking the pipeline from school to prison. She spent over 5 years with Leaders of Tomorrow mentoring and coaching our youth to help shape the minds of the next generation. Krystal is an executive member of local activist organizations such as Brothers and Sisters for Action (BASFA) fighting for justice, education, and immigration. She is also the co-chair for Progressive MD Prince George’s Chapter focused on criminal justice and bail reform.

“Activists don’t just talk about changing the world, they don’t even just change the world themselves, they motivate a generation to change it with them!” Krystal said.

Presently, Krystal is running against B.J. Paige, founder of the non-profit Boys 2 Bowties, political activists Bruce Branch, former AFRO columnist, Juan Stewart, a data scientist for the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, located in Bethesda, Md., a solar power entrepreneur and former county council aide Rodney Streeter and Darryl Miller who on Jan. 4, 2012, was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, and serve 300 hours of community service by the Anne Arundel Circuit Court for violation of campaign finance laws for using campaign funds for personal use. The primary is June 26 and the winner will be on the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election.

Krystal is building a grassroots campaign, because she believes in the power of the people. She knows that when we come together to build a movement, nothing can stand in our way. That is why Krystal is asking for your vote and support to improve the quality of life in our community.
Krystal earned her BBA in International Business with a concentration in Marketing at Howard University, Washington, DC, and her MBA at Amberton University, Garland, TX.

Join Krystal’s Campaign Kick-Off event on Sunday, January 28, 2018 from 3PM-5PM located at Uniqek Banquet Hall 3130 Branch Avenue, Temple Hills, MD. To RSVP, contact Alicia@VoteKrystalOriadha.com.
For more information, please visit her website at VoteKrystalOriadha.com.

RSVP Here! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kos-campaign-kick-off-tickets-…

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Activist and committee co-chair for Progressive Maryland, Krystal Oriadha

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Krystal Oriadha Will be competing with among others Darryl Miller (seen here) who on Jan. 4, 2012, was sentenced to two years of supervised probation, ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, and serve 300 hours of community service by the Anne Arundel Circuit Court for violation of campaign finance laws for using campaign funds for personal use, several other candidates will also be running for County council District 7. Mr. Miller has strong ties to cartels currently operating in Maryland including in the Maryland legislature. >>>Read more >>> Read more

BOE Member Dinora Hernandez, Esq., In major water as Juwan Blocker joins the 2018 race – as people’s choice – District 3

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Mr. Juwan Blocker candidate for District 3 (in purple tie) standing next to Mr. Arun Puracken candidate for District 9.

We finally have a former student Board member familiar with the inner workings of power Running for Board of Education. This is the way to go Mr. Juwan Blocker. Education matters and it is the key to life. It should matter now more than ever.

Mr. Juwan Blocker’s school board campaign launch was more lit than some delegate, Senate, and Council campaign launches within the County.  More than 60 people showed up. There is lots of love and support from the community and the board members themselves starting with Mr. Edward Burroughs III and Ms. Raaheela Ahmed our “rebellious, fearless leaders”.

“You cannot expect Juwan Blocker to do everything. But please do what you can to help him along the way he’s a man on a mission, but he does need some help,” said  Barry O’Connell of the Maryland politics on Facebook. 

we encourage more teachers, youth leaders and others to step up to run for various political offices and lead the way forward in Maryland. This is one way to shake up the state and the county Leadership in order to make a difference in the future.

Candidates in 2018 races stand a great chance if they go door to door and create a revolutionary push for the county.

Nominate a Leader to be Featured in Education Matters

Do you know a leader in your community supporting our schools and making a difference in the lives of children both in and out of school? We are seeking nominations for individuals to be highlighted in our Leadership Spotlight segment. Nominees could be principals, superintendents, teachers, teacher assistants, guidance counselors, parents, students, business leaders, community volunteers, afterschool providers, and more.

Here are Some pictures from Juwan Blocker’s Campaign Kickoff/Fundraiser for PGCPS Board of Education on Thursday January 25th, 2018 event.

 

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It is over for Delegate Dereck E. Davis and Delegate Darryl Barnes as Mel Spruil, Wala Blegay, Nick Charles and Kent Roberson joins District 25 race to dethrone!

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Mel Spruill is running for delegate in District 25. With the Angela Angel vacancy because she’s running for Senate and the moral vacancy of Dereck, the Crooked Weasel, Davis people are getting excited about running for delegate. An activist who cares about the people of the county, if Mel Spruill goes door to door, she is expected to win big time.

In a race resembling an action movie, the race for Delegate seat in District 25 of Prince George’s county has become even more interesting based on the issues and candidates involved. Action films are films based on action sequences, such as fighting, stunts, car chases etc which take precedence over elements like character development or complex plots.

For many years now, Delegate Dereck E. Davis has held the Delegate seat for district 25. He was joined by Delegate Darryl Barnes to represent the same district in the last election. However, we already highlighted in this blog why Delegate Dereck E. Davis should have resigned a long time ago after he created a law to benefit him personally and his wife.

Delegate Darryl Barnes was elected with the help of Rushern Baker III.  He therefore represents the interests of the establishment and the crooked lot in the county politics.

Due to conflicts of interest in the Maryland legislature, Delegate Darryl Barnes was appointed last week to be the new Chairman for Education sub committee for Prince George’s County in Annapolis.   Mr. Barnes hit the ground running and has since changed the rules of the game which raised the eye brows with many of the voters in the county complaining he has been bribed to screen and keep things under the table. This move to cover up and his engagement in white collar violations has angered many which has led to Ms. Mel Spruil, Wala Blegay, Nick Charles and Kent Roberson to enter the the race for Delegate for proper leadership of the District 25 in prince George’s county.

As a result of the entry of new candidates in Prince George’s County District 25, it’s over for Delegate Dereck E. Davis and Delegate Darryl Barnes!

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Wala Blegay (seen here center flagged by Board of Education Member Edward Burroughs III) has received endorsement of CASA and several unions. If she continues to go door to door like she has been doing, she is expected to win.

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Kent A. Roberson is running to be a Delegate for District 25. A very humble gentleman and Church going family man, is expected to fight hard for one of the slots in the race for Delegate.

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Nick Charles is running to be a Delegate for District 25.  He attended kindergarten class at Benjamin Foulois. He believes it’s time to turn the page to the next Generation of Leadership.

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Delegate Dereck E. Davis is in major hot water. According to Barry O’Connell of the Maryland politics, “Dereck Davis the delegate has been blocking the $15 an hour minimum wage and has come out strongly in favor a foreign-owned beer factory. He’s not good for the people and it does not look like he’s going to have an easy time holding his seat this time around. People are finally wising up to the fact that he’s a dirty rotten crooked weasel.” 

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Delegate Darryl Barnes is in major hot water for changing the rules  to protect the establishment in the middle of the 90 day session. 

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Gov. Hogan believes Dallas Dance ‘was apparently taking bribes’

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former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance

Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concern Thursday about the indictment of former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance, whom he believes “was apparently taking bribes.”

But Dance was not charged with taking bribes. He was indicted on four counts of perjury.

The indictment, handed down Tuesday by a Baltimore County grand jury, alleges Dance failed to disclose nearly $147,000 in pay he received for private consulting with several companies and school districts beginning in 2012. Dance was required to report the pay on financial disclosure forms he filled out annually.

The charges allege Dance negotiated a no-bid contract between the school system and Chicago-based SUPES Academy in 2012 while he was earning approximately $90,000 from the company without telling the school system.

“I’m outraged at the discovery the previous superintendent was apparently taking bribes and not disclosing this money, and making decisions with hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money and he’s got these indictments, I guess he’s still got a court case to go forward,” Hogan said at a press conference.

When Hogan’s spokesman was asked to clarify the statement later in the day, Douglass Mayer said: “Mr. Dance was paid by a vendor, didn’t disclose it, and then gave the same contractor a no-bid contract. You do the math.”

At the press conference, Hogan went on to say he is concerned by the fact that interim Baltimore County school superintendent Verletta White is “also taking money from the same people and also not disclosing it.”

White is expected to meet with Baltimore County’s state senators Friday morning to answer questions about the school system’s purchasing rules. Hogan said he was glad she would be asked to “answer some pointed questions.”

White, who was the chief academic officer under Dance, was a consultant for Education Research & Development Institute for several years. She did not report the income, which was about $3,000 a year, on her forms. She said this fall that the failing was a mistake and she would correct the form. She agreed she will not take any outside compensation and will limit her travel to trips the board approves in advance.

Hogan said the developments in Baltimore County, as well as a scandal over grade-fixing in Prince George’s County schools, highlight the importance of a legislative package he proposed to improve school officials’ accountability to state leaders.

“Some of this is criminal behavior and we’ve got to get to the bottom of it,” Hogan said. “We’re going to push our multiple accountability measures. We provide all the money and then we don’t have any real authority. We’re having some real problems.”

The governor suggested that he had heard the Baltimore County school board was considering giving information to the Maryland State Prosecutor who brought the case against Dance. Several county board members either didn’t respond to requests for comment or said they weren’t aware of what Hogan was talking about.

Dance is alleged to have falsely stated on financial disclosure forms filed with the county school district that he earned no additional income personally or through his consulting company, Deliberate Excellence, in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

In December 2012, the Baltimore County school board awarded SUPES Academy a $875,000 no-bid contract to train principals in the county school system. Ten months later, Dance took a job with the same company to train Chicago public school principals. Between Nov. 2012 and Nov. 2013, SUPES paid $90,000 to Deliberate Excellence, according to the indictment.

via Baltimore Sun

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Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concern Thursday about the indictment of former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance, whom he believes “was apparently taking bribes.”

 

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