Teacher on Paid Leave for a Year While Facing Sex Charges

Special education teacher Preston Lewis was kept on paid leave for 14 months while police investigated charges of child sex crimes, and he received $347 a day while in Sacramento County jail awaiting trial, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Mr. Lewis is still employed by the Sacramento City Unified School District, but is no longer being paid. After giving him $87,000 on three separate paid leaves since 2007, the district stopped paying him.

The Bee noted that while Mr. Lewis remains a school employee, the state has revoked his foster care license over allegations that he fondled a boy.

The paper reports: "A Bee analysis found that, during the past five years, Sacramento City Unified paid $1.1 million in salary for 49 teachers to stay home a total of 3,819 school days while they were investigated for alleged misconduct. Not included in that cost is the money spent for those employees' health and retirement benefits, as well as for hiring substitutes to replace the teachers during their leaves.

"The allegations of misconduct that prompted those paid leaves ranged broadly and included petty theft, substance abuse and sex offenses. Ultimately, 61 percent of teachers put on paid leave by Sacramento City Unified during that period were allowed to return to the classroom.

"City Unified paid substantially more for paid leaves than Twin Rivers, Elk Grove, Folsom Cordova and Natomas school districts. Combined, these other districts paid $599,100 to 42 teachers placed on paid leave for a combined 1,776 school days over the last five years. The proportion of teachers who returned to the classroom following those leaves varied, from a low of 50 percent in Folsom Cordova to a high of 86 percent in Elk Grove Unified." (Source: The Sacramento Bee, May 8.)


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