UPDATE #2: Student Accident Insurance [Applies to All Students, Not Just Co-Curricular]

Post date: Nov 13, 2015 4:51:6 PM

November 13, 2015

Dear Families and Community Members of Deer Isle and Stonington,

Here is an update on the status of student insurance and the solutions to the situation, along with other information.

We are still searching our records and have not yet come up with a satisfactory explanation for how this happened.  We have had difficulty communicating with this company in the past, but the first I knew of a cancellation was in a letter dated November 5th.   I notified the school committee and administrators of the situation and tried, without success, over the next days to contact the underwriter and correct the situation.

Unable to contact the company, I thought of the idea of having the district pay the premiums of the individual policies of the kind you have typically seen with the first day of school handouts.  I did the math and saw that the amount of money we had budgeted for the blanket policy would cover these costs.  I contacted our school committee co-chairs, and they agreed to proceed in this manner.  We will be sending the approved funds for the designated purpose.

I then got these forms into the hands of the principals and athletic directors as the winter sports season was beginning.  The timing of all of this was terrible, and it has caused a great deal of confusion and disruption of plans.  In my rush to make something happen, I did not give complete or comprehensive instructions to the principal and athletic directors, much less to all of you.  For this, I am very sorry.  

For those involved with winter sports, I believe all of you who want this insurance have been given the handout from someone in the schools.  If not, please contact the athletic directors.  The families have to take out the policy.  As soon as you provide documentation to that effect, the district will reimburse you (standard coverage, $42)

This is not just about sports participation.  Any family who wishes to purchase this policy for their child will also be reimbursed.  Just contact the offices in the two schools.

In the next six or seven months there are a number of significant challenges for the Deer Isle – Stonington school district.  The first will be crafting the 2016-17 budget.  We all know the issues and even though we finally got a budget passed, I fully expect the debate of size of the budget will continue.  The second challenge will be finding our next elementary school principal.  A third challenge will be finding a new high school guidance counselor.  Beyond these specific challenges, the school committee will need to consider any recommendations coming from the Island Education Revitalization Committee.

Most of the last year has been a difficult one for the Island, the school district as a whole, as well as for me professionally and personally.  All year I, as well as the central office staff, have been working diligently to accomplish all that we need to accomplish to best serve the whole school union.  Furthermore, I had hoped to repair the damage done to the district’s and my reputation.  I reached the conclusion yesterday that is probably an impossible task for me to accomplish.  Whether warranted or not, I have become such a focal point of attention that my effectiveness in leading this school union has been greatly diminished.

Therefore, I am announcing my resignation, effective at the end of the school year.  I will not be seeking an extension of my contract.  This early announcement will allow the School Union ample time to plan for a smooth transition, perhaps calm some of the waters, and allow me to focus on the work at hand without being a further distraction.


Mark Jenkins.