No decision made on RSU 13 superintendent contract

By Kim Lincoln | Dec 05, 2013
Photo by: Kim Lincoln RSU 13 Business Manager Scott Vaitones, Superintendent Lew Collins and Board Chairman Esther "Tess" Kilgour at a meeting earlier this year.

Rockland — Regional School Unit 13 chairman Esther "Tess" Kilgour refused to comment about why an agenda item to decide on the Superintendent Lew Collins' contract was removed from the Dec. 5 meeting.

The board also added and later approved an agenda item to hire an interim business manager. Current business manager Scott Vaitones was put on paid administrative leave on Nov. 14.

It was standing-room only as about 50 people attended the meeting. A closed-door session, which lasted about a half hour, was held prior to the start of the public meeting to discuss the superintendent's evaluation. There also was no public vote taken on that matter.

The board voted in November to complete the evaluation by Monday, Dec. 16.

Public comment was limited in that people were not allowed to speak about individual employees.

"We have been told that we cannot talk about specific employees of the district and a lot of issues go back to specific people," said Dena Davis of Thomaston.

She asked where questions should be sent and who they should be addressed to.

Davis said the low morale of teachers is effecting the students.

"People are not moving to our area because of the drama in our district and I think we can rise above it," Davis said.

Tori Willauer of Owls Head also questioned how the board handles feedback from the community, educators and parents.

"There is an upswell, people want to be heard," she said.

Kilgour instructed the public to contact the board through email.

Rick Bernard of St. George, who also is a retired educator in the district, said feelings have been escalating the past several years and people are losing confidence in the leadership of the district. He added there seems to be a lot of distrust, disillusionment and discouragement among citizens.

"Please listen to the teachers and please listen to the principals and do what is right," said Gretchen Kuhn of Rockland.

Both teachers and administrators have sent letters of concern to the board since the start of the school year regarding Collins' leadership.

Vaitones said Nov. 15 he informed the board about $500,000 the superintendent had authorized for special education positions in the district that had not been planned for in the original school budget. Collins served as special education director until this summer when a replacement was hired.

Collins has stated he is only doing the job the board has tasked him to do.

The board authorized the district to hire a temporary business manager not to exceed payment of $300 per day. Collins said the hope is to find someone to work two to three days each week.

A call for comment was left for Collins following this meeting.

RSU 13 includes schools in the towns of Rockland, Thomaston, South Thomaston, Owls Head, Cushing and St. George.

Courier Publications Copy Editor Kim Lincoln can be reached at 594-4401 or by email at

Comments (3)
Posted by: Cathy Ansart | Dec 06, 2013 11:06

Unfortunately for my kids, St. George didn't get out soon enough!  They have been some of the casualties of the merger, and I feel the Board of the past three years has done irreparable damage to the education and morale of our students and teachers.  We need a change of administration and board members!  Let's hurry up and get out St. George!

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Dec 06, 2013 07:07

Glad to see a well run, respectful meeting that gives me hope for the future, Kudos to each and every member of the board who made that possible.

Posted by: Stephen B Adams | Dec 06, 2013 01:26

St George can't get out soon enough!


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Kim Lincoln
Copy Editor
594-4401 ext. 120
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Kim Lincoln has worked for Courier Publications since 2003, serving as a reporter, assistant editor and copy editor.

During her time with the company she has worked for each of the three newspapers, The Courier-Gazette, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal.

When she is not in the newsroom, Kim likes to be outside, whether it be gardening, swimming, hiking or just enjoying the sunshine.

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