By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor
Cedric Lewis, Rockford Public School District’s chief financial officer, has resigned.
According to the district, Lewis will be on administrative leave through June 30 until his resignation becomes effective July 1.
Lewis joined the district in 2009 under former Superintendent Dr. LaVonne Sheffield. His salary was $152,760.
During his time with the district, Rockford Public Schools was recognized each year by the Association of School Business Officials International for excellence in financial reporting. The district has an annual budget of $468 million.
Despite his success in financial reporting, Lewis came under public scrutiny in 2012 after it was revealed he had been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and felony aggravated unlawful use of handgun charges in September 2010. There is no indication Lewis’ resignation is in any way tied to these charges.
According to an Illinois State Police (ISP) report, Lewis was found asleep behind the wheel of his maroon 2005 Nissan by an ISP trooper shortly before 11:15 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25. Lewis was parked in the median and blocking southbound traffic on Interstate 55, near Joliet, Ill.
The ISP report said that when the trooper woke Lewis up, Lewis “needed support” to stand. Lewis also had “red, glassy eyes” and his breath smelled of alcohol, according to the report. The trooper also noted Lewis seemed “confused/disoriented.”
Lewis’ blood-alcohol content tested at .207, more than two-and-a-half times the legal limit. A handgun was also found in his car.
Lewis was charged with DUI, driving with a blood-alcohol content greater than .08, felony aggravated unlawful use of a handgun, improper traffic lane usage and driving the wrong way on a divided highway/parking on the median. No charges for speeding were filed, despite a 2012 Rockford Public School District press release that indicated Lewis was charged with speeding instead of DUI, unlawful use of a handgun, improper lane usage and driving the wrong way on a highway.
In November 2010, Lewis — with the assistance of his attorney, Paul R. Vella of Rockford’s Vella & Lund P.C. — reached a plea agreement in Will County to have the felony unlawful use of a handgun charge reduced to a misdemeanor unlawful use of a weapon charge. He was sentenced to 12 months of conditional discharge and fined $1,500, the same amount he had posted in bail. He pled guilty to the misdemeanor DUI and paid a $300 fine for the charge. He also was granted a year of supervision on the condition he would undergo alcoholism assessment and treatment.
Lewis’ term of supervision for both the weapon charge and the DUI charge ended in November 2011. None of the other traffic charges was pursued by prosecution.
Posted Jan. 14, 2015