Consulting Transgressions

The latest investigative article by Ann Constantino in The Baltimore Post reveals further hidden paid consulting by Dallas Dance, which casts new light on apparent deceptions wielded by the former BCPS superintendent during his tenure as a public official here. And Dance’s ethically fraught consulting efforts continue–the former public school leader has even co-opted photos of BCPS school children to promote his for-profit business.

From the Baltimore Post story: “Seven months after an ethics panel found former Superintendent S. Dallas Dance in violation of his contract for consulting for now defunct Chicago-based educational consulting firm, SUPES Academy, the former Baltimore County Public Schools education leader entered into a $42,501.06 contract with Pasadena Unified School District to provide leadership training for the system’s existing and aspiring principals.”

Through his limited liability company, Deliberate Excellence, LLC (DELLC), Dance signed a four-month agreement with the California-based school system totaling $38,000, including an additional $4,501.06 in reimbursements for travel and other expenses.”

Overall, BCPS district contracts, spending, and programs are widely suspect under this unfolding track record–expanding evidence to support a Special Review Audit by the Maryland Office of Legislative audits, as well as further school, county, and state review and investigations.

Of immediate concern: There should be a cease-and-desist order regarding the use of images of Baltimore County Public Schools children to promote the resigned superintendent’s for-profit company, The DDance Group, whose founder was recently indicted on four charges of perjury. Dance faces trial on those charges on March 8 at Baltimore County Circuit Court.
The website of the Dance Group currently features photos of Dance conversing with students, some of which are in the classrooms and hallways of Baltimore County Public Schools (also reported previously in this blog).  Was parent permission granted for Dallas Dance to use these children’s images for private advertising purposes? If parents did not opt-out of images to be used by the district, would that mean a former superintendent can just download, co-opt and use those photos? Doubtful. What school system rule or FERPA or privacy law — or ethics policy — does this violate? Someone within the district administration, school board, BCPS Office of Law, as well as county and state officials should follow this up. Right away. The lack of oversight in the district is alarming.
Do our leaders really want unsuspecting children being used for this purpose?
— Guest post, Joanne C.S.
(Note: Dance also entered into an apparent back-door contract within weeks of leaving the district, a scenario similar to Pasadena’s SUPES-style training, as indicated in the Baltimore Post story, which can also offer clues on various consulting conflicts.)
Here, photos of Baltimore County Public Schools children and others featured prominently to advertise The DDance Group, via the company website. See, especially, images of BCPS children wearing the light-blue ID lanyards from the failed ScholarChip $10 million district contract, and the pricey $1,400-plus HP Revolve laptops being used, essentially one-per-student under an unheard of $205 million contract. Various images appear on a revolving basis, and can be found elsewhere on the site, under Services. — JCS

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