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Code of Ethics

Members of the public must be assured that public officials and employees act with impartiality and independent judgment. Confidence and trust are eroded when the conduct of public business is or appears to be improperly influenced.

As outlined in policy and administrative regulations, the district's Code of Ethics sets standards for Board commissioners and City Schools employees for conduct of school system business. The code covers

  • Conflict of interest
  • Outside employment
  • Gifts and honoraria
  • Use of prestige of office
  • Disclosure of confidential information
Code highlights

Ethics Panel. The code establishes this advisory body to interpret the policy and advise those subject to it as to its application. Meet the panelists.

Financial disclosure. Board members and designated employees who play a role in decision making about expenditure of public funds are required to file certain financial disclosure statements on an annual basis.

Lobbying disclosure. Any person whose intent is to influence a Board member or any employee or any person who has business with Baltimore City Public Schools and expends, within a reporting period, in excess of $75 in food, entertainment, or gifts for that person must disclose this fact by registering as a lobbyist with the Ethics Panel. 

Gift disclosure. An official may not solicit gifts but can accept them under certain circumstances. 

Vendors. As required under Code of Ethics regulations, a list of vendors doing business with City Schools of $5,000 or more is updated and posted monthly.

Sanctions. Violation by any Board member or employee of the code's provisions constitutes grounds for discipline, personnel action, or removal from office where provided by law, consistent with procedures set forth under the Annotated Code of Maryland or the policies of the Board of School Commissioners. Persons or organizations found in violation of the lobbying provisions shall be publicly identified and subject to other penalties as provided by law.

Exemptions. Exemptions may be granted by the Ethics Panel if the interests of the employee are too remote and insubstantial to affect the integrity of public actions, or if it is determined that application of the provisions would constitute an unreasonable invasion of privacy, significantly reduce the availability of qualified persons for public service, or not be required to preserve the purposes of these regulations.

Advisory opinions 

The Ethics Panel provides advisory opinions to persons subject to the regulations as to the applicability of these provisions based on the facts provided or reasonably available to the panel at the time of deliberation. The panel also handles and makes determinations as to complaints filed by any person alleging violation of these regulations. The panel will meet within 15 working days of receipt of a complaint. All complaints are treated confidentially and will, upon determination of the Ethics Panel, be referred to the Board of School Commissioners.

Linked below are opinions issued in 2017 or later. For other opinions, please contact the Board office.

Complaints

The Ethics Panel also handles and makes determinations as to complaints filed by any person alleging violation of these regulations. The panel will meet within 15 working days of receipt of a complaint. All complaints are treated confidentially and will, upon determination of the Ethics Panel, be referred to the Board of School Commissioners.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is expected to abide by the Code of Ethics?

The provisions of the code apply to all Board members, officials, and employees of the Board and City Schools, unless stated otherwise.

Which employees must file financial disclosures?

  • Commissioners of the Board
  • Board executives
  • Chiefs (i.e., executive, academics, financial, operations, legal, human capital, achievement and accountability, information technology, and schools officers, and the chief of staff)
  • Deputies, special assistants, and executive assistants to the chiefs listed above
  • Executive directors and directors
  • Legislative liaison
  • Audit manager
  • Controller
  • Attorneys in the Legal Office
  • Staff in the Materials Management department
  • Principals and assistant principals (or their equivalents - e.g., leads or directors)
  • Education building supervisors
  • Any other salaried employee, as directed in writing by the Ethics Panel or CEO, who has decision-making and policy responsibilities or who has the authority to commit City Schools to the expenditure of public funds, including any school official or salaried employee of City Schools whose functions include the development of specifications and/or the procurement of outside supplies, materials or services from businesses doing business with City Schools