A Muscogee County School Board member says the board will vote Monday on whether to give the superintendent a raise, which another board member confirmed.
District 8 representative Frank Myers posted an announcement Monday night on the “Columbus, GA Concerned Citizens Forum” Facebook page that the board “is poised to give David Lewis a huge raise,” as well as a “new and additional retirement plan,” at Monday’s scheduled school board meeting, and that he would be voting against it.
During last December’s meeting, the nine-member board voted 6-2 to give Lewis a 2 percent raise on his $170,000 salary, amounting to an extra $3,400 per year. Myers and Thomas voted no but didn’t explain why. Mark Cantrell of District 6 was absent.
It was Lewis’ first raise since the board hired him in July 2013 from Polk County, Fla., where he was an associate superintendent. The board also extended Lewis’ three-year contract by one year, which it has done each year since he was hired. Three years is the maximum length state law allows for a superintendent’s contract.
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Lewis’ contract runs through Dec. 31, 2019. His compensation package also includes health and retirement benefits, a car allowance of $600 per month and professional association expenses.
District 2 representative John Thomas confirmed Tuesday afternoon in an email to the Ledger-Enquirer that the board discussed a raise for the superintendent in a closed session during Monday’s work session, from which Myers was absent.
“The proposal seems to be to extend Dr. Lewis’ contract for another year, give him a 3 percent raise, and in addition fund a supplementary retirement account for him at some amount up to the max of $55,000 annually,” Thomas said. “No specific amount was settled. The salary and the contract for Dr. Lewis is a matter not only of public record but also public concern. The discussion should have been held in the public forum.”
Thomas listed reasons he would side with Myers and vote no, including Lewis’ handling of “the Montravious Thomas situation,” the bus driver shortage, and the presence of failing schools in the district.
“Dr. Lewis’ contract still has two years left on it,” Thomas wrote. “There is no urgency for a vote this month. I am going to appeal to other board members to not be rushed into a hasty decision.”
When the Ledger-Enquirer asked board chairwoman Pat Hugley Green about the proposal that Myers said was up for a vote on Monday, she responded by email.
“As you are aware, executive session and personnel matters are confidential,” she wrote. “Any board member behavior contrary to Georgia Statue of Board Code of Ethics is a violation, inappropriate and unacceptable.”