DeKalb teachers wear black to protest superintendent's raise

Hundreds of DeKalb County school employees will come to work Thursday dressed in black to protest the superintendent’s $15,000 raise.

On Monday, the school board voted to raise Superintendent Crawford Lewis’ salary from $240,000 to $255,000. They also extended his contract until January 2013.

Thursday’s protest, called the “Blackout” is organized by the Organization of DeKalb Educators, which represents about 4,700 employees, said Judi Polacek, a special education paraprofessional at Hawthorne Elementary School in Atlanta.

“It’s a silent form of showing our anger against the raise,” said Polacek, who has worked for DeKalb schools for 25 years. “It is so disgusting because all of us in the trenches are going backwards in our take home pay.”

Teachers and paraprofessionals have complained that Lewis' raise comes after the board slashed their pay increases and implemented a one-day furlough. Bus drivers had their pay cut between 10 and 30 percent.

Lewis’ new salary will remain in effect until the end of his contract. Lewis has declined to comment on the raise.

The school employees said they also plan to protest at Monday’s school board meeting.

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