Baltimore County Principals Divided Over Financial Disclosure Form

Some principals are concerned the forms are too intrusive.

Some Baltimore County principals are outraged by the level of scrutiny in a new financial disclosure form they are required to submit.

The 14-page document—which is also mandated for the superintendent, school board members and other school officials—requires the principals to divulge personal information such as the cost of their houses and rental properties, and information about their spouses' finances, according to The Baltimore Sun. The form was created in response to a 2010 state ethics law that changed reporting requirements for school boards.

School board president Lawrence Schmidt told The Sun that the form was due on April 30, and only about half of county principals turned it in.

Tom Evans, principal of , told The Sun that the form was "too intrusive."

"There're questions about personal properties. There're questions about debt," Evans told Patch in a phone interview. "It's very uncomfortable."

Evans, who hasn't submitted his form, added that he hopes the school board would return to a simpler, less invasive disclosure form. The Sun reported that principals who don't file could face termination.

"I've been campaigning for [the simpler form] for the last six months," Evans said. "Hopefully we'll be able to work it out."

But not all principals are against the mandate.

, who recently wrapped up his of Hereford High School, said he didn't mind filling out the forms, although the process was laborious. 

"[The form] did ask for a lot of details," Last said. "I don't really have anything to hide, so I didn't have a problem."

Last acknowledged that as a new principal, he generally goes along with what the Board of Education requires without objection.

"Maybe if I'm looking back at it in another 10 years—really scrutinizing it—I'll think differently," he said.

Evans said he doesn't hold Last's opinion against him, but agrees that the first-time principal may have a change of perspective in the future. He added that he has no grudge against any other principal not objecting to the form.

"Everybody's different," Evans said.

Buck Harmon June 23, 2012 at 02:05 PM
When you come to a fork in the road....take it....freedom or compliance...
Buzz Beeler June 23, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Let the politicians get it right first, then we can discuss this issue. Lorna has a good point. I think at the superintendents level this is a must. We all remember Hariston's no-bid contract issues.
Buzz Beeler June 23, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Paul, very good comment. Something like lest we feed upon ourselves.
Buck Harmon June 23, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The issue is at hand...politicians have never , and will never get it right...politics get in the way..
Dan Liberatore June 23, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Speed light cameras issue tickets while school is closed, gov. Inspectors show up if a child wants to set up a lemonade stand! Big Brother is Watching! Waiting to tell people what to do, when and how to do it, who to do it with! How about detailed financial disclosures for every elected official and buearocrat! Government needs to solve some real problems, not erode our Liberty!
Lorna D. Rudnikas June 23, 2012 at 04:51 PM
And so the very idea of "DRONES" in search of....what? how? why? where? who? Would not want to be accused of paranoia, but, honey child, this is beginning to sounds more and more communistic as opposed to little ole socialistic!!! Progress seems to point toward deciding first who is going to be the biggest political base and go for it...but first build it and they will come and the remaining folks will drown in our sorrow that we let it happen, all without firing a shot from either direction...step, by step, by step well planned with a great deal of patience!!! RUN FORREST RUN!!!
Lorna D. Rudnikas June 23, 2012 at 04:53 PM
And, Dan, who is government....we the people are the government hiring others to do the work of the people but with constraints...and that is where we goofed....no contraints!!!
Tim June 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Speeding and bad driving IS a problem. If you don't want speeding tickets, here's a hint: Don't speed! Look, I just got a speed camera ticket last week. I'm not complaining. Why? Because I'm guilty and take responsibility for my actions. Too much of America simply doesn't.
Renee June 23, 2012 at 07:08 PM
I think the key word Tim is "bad"! Yes, I agree, if I get a speeding ticket, it is my fault. BUT I see cops more worried about speeders than weavers which I think cause more accidents. Or the slow pokes who cut you off and don't pick up speed to the actual limit because they are in the "slow" lane, or the ones who don't know how to merge and simply try to force you in another lane, so what if you hit a car, they'll be fine. THOSE are the ones cops should be more worried about!
Renee June 23, 2012 at 07:09 PM
"Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.... If the next centennial does not find us a great nation ... it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces." James Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, 1877
Lorna D. Rudnikas June 23, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Wow! Renee...this statement was perfection!!! President Garfield was so very much on the mark in 1877 and his assessment has continued to ring true up to this day, and will continue through many, many centuries down the road. But truth be told, it does not take a rocket scientist to see through the thinly veiled moves and goobledegook coming down the pike at the present time. We better think long and very, very hard this go round!!!
Lorna D. Rudnikas June 23, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Viva Buck Harmon!!!!
Ann Miller June 23, 2012 at 09:01 PM
I'm very disappointed by Mr. Last's position, and I have children at Hereford. If this is the stand of our new principal, I'm concerned. "He generally goes along with what the board of ed requires without objection." Mr. Last, welcome to the North County, the most conservative school district in the county. It could be a bumpy ride.
Dan Liberatore June 23, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Slow down Tim! I must not have been clear Tim. I didn't get a speeding ticket. I was attempting ( maybe I failed) to use a speed camera as a metaphor for the prying eyes of Big Brother ( big government)!
Dan Liberatore June 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Renee, that's Awesome!
Dan Liberatore June 24, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Lorna, you're right!
On a positive note, this could be a great consulting opportunity for Senator Currie.
John June 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM
WOW, you can all take an issue off track really fast and run with it in all directions. The fact is the state found one person breaking the law and needs to do something about it. That something is to make everyone else feel like they've done something wrong and now have to report and account for every penny they make and spend. The truth is that politician and people in high ranking positions have access to contract deals where they can line their pockets at tax payer expense. I'm sure it's been done here in Baltimore County, but that doesn't mean that everyone does it. Principals do not negotiate those types of contracts and it's simply stupid to be going after them as if they do.
Tim June 24, 2012 at 03:33 AM
and my point is that Big Brother is OK in some scenarios, but I agree with you in others. It's one thing to spy on you in your home, it's yet another to cite you for traffic violations and putting other people at risk.
Margaret June 24, 2012 at 11:12 AM
A persons finances are none of their business. I agree with you John.
fred June 24, 2012 at 03:16 PM
the real question is who requiring this and why since it does not appear that was the case in the past. then you will know who big brother is.
Robert Frisch June 25, 2012 at 01:10 AM
The amount of information being required due to the change in reporting requirements is even giving some school board members pause. At least two have already resigned in other school districts. As the filing deadline approaches for next year you may see more school board members leave office instead of submitting to this degree of intrusiveness.
Tim June 25, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Eh, because willful unemployment is such a great option as well. If he really doesn't care, whay should it bother you? You're either okay with it and still gainfully employed or unemployed and blaming the government for being unemployed.
Tim June 25, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Ok, finally got around to reading this. I work for an organization that required a lot of this information above. Employers in the private industry consider the risk of a person when hiring them when they deal with sensitive information. There's also public trust factor in my case. I wouldn't be surprised if police officers have something similar. If not now, in the near future. Why? They carry guns and authority. Now, the real question is: Is the principal of a school a 'high security' position? I'd say it's not - so this is a bit out of line. If they are going to mandate this, why don't we make sure all of our local politicians are held to - at least - the same standards of disclosure...
Buck Harmon June 25, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I would say that until major campaign finance reform can be accomplished... the thought of something this invasive shouldn't even exist.... The real crooks rank high in the political arena...not at this level...
Tim June 25, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Buck: unfortunately, the Supreme Court just doubled down on their Citizens United decision today.
Jennifer Tanko June 25, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I think this really crosses a line. The questions are highly inappropriate, particularly the ones concerning spouses. I understand if the administrators have ethical concerns they need to look into but dragging everyone else in these folks' lives into the matter is uncalled for. I can't really get behind questions that require disclosure of property value either. Attempting to force principals and other education officials to answer questionably ethical questions in an attempt to enforce ethics is ludicrous. The whole system suffers from this kind of misguided logic.
Buck Harmon June 25, 2012 at 07:36 PM
The Supreme Court is supremely corrupted by the money rulers...nothing more, nothing less. They are human beings that have been politically bought and paid for and should be among the first to go straight to hell.
Buck Harmon June 25, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Well said..
Morna McDermott June 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
i find this VERY interesting and not all too coincidental with the rise of 'reform" measures we can expect to see with our new State Superintendent who happens to be a former Leader Scholar with the Eli Broad Foundation. You must read: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2011/04/how-to-tell-if-your-school-district-is-infected-by-the-broad-virus/ to see what we can anticipate happening to our schools


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