In response to questions in regards to the audit request and potential conflict-of-interest points relating to tech distributors, Mychael Dickerson, a college district spokesman, mentioned the district had “answered all the questions we intend to answer on this matter.”
This previous spring, the district’s superintendent resigned with out citing a motive. In an electronic mail to reporters final week, Verletta White, the district’s interim superintendent, wrote: “I do not believe there are any conflicts of interest” associated to the district’s tech initiative.
The push for an examination comes as some dad and mom, ethicists and authorized specialists are calling for better transparency in school-vendor relationships. “Anything that involves trips to fancy hotels should be looked at pretty closely by school boards,” mentioned James E. Tierney, a former legal professional common of Maine who’s a lecturer at Harvard Law School, “and they should decide whether the ultimate users — kids — are getting the right products.”
Senator Brochin mentioned he was involved about Baltimore County’s ties to a agency referred to as the Education Research and Development Institute or ERDI. Among different providers offered by ERDI, it expenses an organization $13,000 to facilitate one three-hour assembly between company representatives and 5 superintendents or different college officers to debate merchandise, based on an ERDI membership rate card. ERDI has up to now paid superintendents $2,000 per convention and lined their journey to conferences held at resorts just like the Four Seasons in Baltimore.
Baltimore County’s earlier superintendent acquired funds final 12 months as an adviser to an organization that owned ERDI, based on his district monetary disclosure. The Times final week reported that Ms. White, the interim superintendent, had been concerned with ERDI occasions since 2013, the place she offered steerage to ed-tech corporations. On Wednesday, The Baltimore Sun reported that Ms. White had been paid about $three,000 a 12 months by ERDI in that point.
The district declined to offer The Times with a listing of the businesses Ms. White met with at ERDI.