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 Eastern Technical High School, 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.
"[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.