Time is marching on and the suspense is palpable. According to the AJC today, the board is negotiating a separation with Dr. Lewis. And ironically, it's the very contract containing the highly criticized raise given to Lewis by the board that actually may contain the biggest surprise—a new clause capping his severance payout at four months worth of salary.
DeKalb County school superintendent Crawford Lewis will take at least $85,000 in cash with him if he accepts the school board's invitation to quit.
That's what Lewis' contract calls for in severance -- four months of his $255,000 annual salary -- plus benefits.
But pushing Lewis out the door will be a bargain compared to how much the school system paid to jettison its last superintendent. Johnny Brown walked out with a $410,000 payout in 2004 after just two years on the job. At the time, the board said the payout was part of a mutual agreement "to move in different directions."
Evidently the school system has learned to move in different directions a little more cheaply since then. The current board modified Lewis' contract in January, granting him a $15,000-a-year raise but also capping any severance payout at four months of annual salary. That cap, which was not in Lewis' prior contract, was designed to prevent a large payout like the one that went to Brown, said school board chairman Tom Bowen said.
We'll monitor the situation and update this post as news becomes available.