By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO
Verletta White will continue to serve public school children in the Baltimore County community where she was born and raised for at least another year. The County school board voted this week on a contract to continue White’s term as interim superintendent for the 2018-2019 school year.
“After a great deal of deliberation and in consultation with my family, I believe the responsible decision is to accept the Board’s offer. I am grateful for the Board’s continued confidence in my leadership,” she said.
White’s contract, approved at the County school board’s July 10 meeting, stipulates that she would “not accept any earned income from any source other than the board” and that she would not engage in travel paid for by sources outside of the school system with the exception of family paid travel. White stated earlier this year that she would not accept consulting income during her tenure as interim superintendent.
“For more than 25 years, students have been my primary focus; students will always be my primary focus,” White said of her appointment.
“As superintendent, interim or permanent, my job is to ensure effective teaching and learning in safe learning environments. My job is also to ensure organizational stability and instructional continuity,” she said.
The board voted 9-2 to on the new contract for White’s interim term for 2018-2019 with one abstention. White was originally appointed interim superintendent in May 2017 after Dallas Dance abruptly resigned in April.
Dance ultimately pleaded guilty to four counts of perjury after lying about more than $147,000 that he earned in outside consulting work while he served as superintendent. Dance was convicted and sentenced to six months in jail.
White also received $13,000 in consulting income while serving BCPS but truthfully disclosed outside income sources when questioned by the School Board’s ethics review panel. White’s earnings from consulting also were not for companies doing business with the school system.
In an unprecedented move this spring, State Superintendent Karen Salmon refused to affirm the board’s original May decision offering White the job as permanent superintendent, citing concern over the ethics board violations.
In June 2018, the County School board re-affirmed their support for White and asked Salmon and the State Board to reconsider and support their decision to appoint White to the permanent post.
Salmon did not address the Board’s June request but instead recommended the Baltimore County board appoint White as interim superintendent for another year while a full audit is conducted and a new search organized.
White’s contract allows her to re-apply for the permanent superintendent’s post; that application must be filed by July 1, 2019. If she does not seek or is not selected for the position, White will have the option of returning to her previous job as chief academic officer.