Save the Last Dance

Once again the specter of corruption came to Maryland this week with the indictment of former Baltimore County School Superintendent Dallas Dance:

Former Baltimore County school superintendent Dallas Dance was indicted Tuesday on four counts of perjury for failing to disclose nearly $147,000 in pay he received for private consulting with several companies and school districts beginning in 2012, the Maryland State Prosecutor announced.

The four-count indictment handed down by a Baltimore County grand jury alleges the former superintendent 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.

Each perjury count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail. Dance is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges on Feb. 12.

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You won’t be surprised to learn that Baltimore County’s Corruption King, Kevin Kamenetz, was a huge fan of the guy:

  • “I Am Certainly Happy We Have A Young, Dynamic Individual. I Think After 12 Years Of Strong Progress, Dance Offers New Leadership And New Ideas” – Sun, 3/28/12
  • “I am delighted that President Obama is recognizing Dr. Dance for his outstanding work in leading the Baltimore County Public Schools. The appointment is quite an honor. The people of Baltimore County are well aware of the progress that our school system is making under Dr. Dance’s leadership, and it is very gratifying to know that his talents are now being recognized by the President of the United States.’” – Kamenetz Press Release, 8/29/14
  • “‘I Am Confident The School Board Will Recruit The Best New Superintendent To Continue Dr. Dance’s Legacy Of Providing A Quality Education For Our Students,’ Kamenetz Said In A Statement.”- Baltimore Business Journal, 4/18/17

Now to be somewhat fair, Kamenetz at least feigned surprised at the allegations directed at Dance:

“These allegations, if true, are not only extremely disappointing but inexcusable,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who supported the superintendent during his tenure, said in a statement.”

All of that would be well and good except for the fact that Kamenetz owns this mess. He hitched his wagon to Dance and his leadership a long time ago. Kamenetz, like Rushern Baker, may try to deflect blame for an education scandal happening on his watch. But also like Baker, he makes education a core part of his platform. He can’t just walk away from Dance and Dance’s failed leadership now that Dance is looking at doing time in the pokey.

Best Pals: Dance and Kamenetz. Photo Courtesy: Maryland Reporter

Even in his statement on Dance’s resignation last year, Kamenetz invokes a lot of “we” in it:

“In the last five years, we embarked upon a plan to build 16 new schools, 12 additions and multiple renovation projects,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “We have increased our graduation rates. African-American and White students now graduate at the same rate in the Baltimore County Public Schools. And we have brought 21st century technologies to the classroom. We look forward to the next chapter of success for our school system.”

And let’s not forget that this isn’t the only scandal that has rocked Baltimore County schools recently; remember that in November there was another scandal with the interim superintendent that also happened on Kamenent’s watch.

For the rest of this gubernatorial campaign, Kamenetz is not going to be able to divorce himself from Dallas Dance and his corruption charges. And don’t forget: we’ve discussed Kevin Kamenetz’s numerous ethics problems before. Remember when his administration ordered county employees to attend his gubernatorial announcement speech? What about his neglect of Lansdowne High? What about the soft corruption running rampant in the county? And that doesn’t even take into account Kamenetz’s inability to ensure that kids go to school in air-conditioned roomsfailure to deal with a bug outbreak, or his focus on building a horse arena for rich supporters.

It seems like every week there’s another new story, another new tidbit, that links Kevin Kamenetz to corruption occurring in his county. The voters of Maryland are not going to tolerate that kind of mismanagement and misbehavior in a candidate for Governor.

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