June 20, 2018
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Rockland-area school board agrees to $100,000 severance package for outgoing superintendent

Stephen Betts | BDN
Stephen Betts | BDN
RSU 13 Superintendent Lew Collins and Board Chairwoman Esther "Tess" Kilgour speak before the start of a Dec. 5 meeting.
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Regional School Unit Superintendent Lew Collins confirmed Monday that he will receive a severance package that pays him through the end of the year even though he will be stepping down on Feb. 15.

The school board also has agreed to pay his health insurance through the year and allow him to receive unused vacation time of about three weeks. The total package amounts to about $100,000.

The BDN has filed a freedom of access request for a copy of the severance agreement. Collins replied by email Monday that he will make the document available within a reasonable period of time, as required by law, and estimated that it could be provided by Friday or early next week.

The BDN also left a telephone message with Board Chairwoman Esther “Tess” Kilgour Monday morning and sent email requests for copies of the agreement to each board member. No one responded on the record, but one source provided some of the details.

When emailed those details, Collins confirmed them and wrote that the agreement will have him paid through Dec. 31, 2014. The board also will pay his health insurance through that period. The agreement was worked out between his attorney and the board’s attorney.

Collins contract, which was set to expire June 30, 2014, was for $108,000 annually. Before the board could vote on whether to renew that contract, however, Collins announced Dec. 31 that he was resigning effective Feb. 15. The board met briefly with Collins in a closed-door session last month and the following week the board met with its attorney, again in executive session, on a personnel matter.

Collins said last week that he was leaving because the board has become fractured and split down the middle on many issues.

“In order for a superintendent to be successful and enact meaningful reforms, there must be full support of the board. Because I do not have that full support, I will be resigning,” Collins stated.

Collins was hired unanimously by the board in July 2012. He had been superintendent for the Vinalhaven school system at the time of that hiring.

The board will vote on formally accepting Collins resignation at its Thursday evening meeting that begins at 6:30 at the McLain School.

The board also will discuss Thursday night how to proceed with an interim superintendent.

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