BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Embattled Baltimore County Interim Superintendent Verletta White has vowed to fight for her job, just days after the state superintendent blocked her long-term contract.
“My initial reaction was disappointment,” Dr. White told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “My focus has been on the permanent superintendency, and so that’s where I’m keeping and maintaining my focus.”
“I’m not a politician, and I don’t get in the middle of politics,” White said.
State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon cited ethics concerns in rejecting the school board’s four-year contract for White, but said White could stay on in an interim basis for the next year.
Supporters greeted White as she attended a groundbreaking for the new $46.8 million Dundalk Elementary School, where White told the crowd she would see them “in August.”
State Senator Johnny Ray Salling also attended the event and said he believes the state superintendent made the right decision.
“We don’t want the same thing happening again,” he said.
White’s predecessor, Dallas Dance, is serving time behind bars for perjury after lying about money he received for outside consulting work.
An ethics panel found White failed to properly report outside income and used the “prestige” of her job to get consulting work. White has said it was an honest mistake that she has since corrected it.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who is running for governor, blames Gov. Larry Hogan for the controversy.
“I guess he’s trying to hurt me as his political opponent,” Kamenetz said. “The state superintendent has no authority to withhold the approval of superintendent White.”
Hogan insists this is not political and said he had no involvement in the state superintendent’s decision.
But Baltimore County councilmember Todd Crandell told WJZ that waiting on a long-term contract for White is a smart decision.
“The public has lost the trust it needs in our school system,” he said.