Official Statement From Dr. Azar
Supt. Azar: “We have reached a point in time where the Town of Rehoboth's revenues are not sufficient to fund the basic town services of our beautiful community and of our excellent school district.”
Budget Crisis Hits Yet Another Community
“Unfortunately, after many years of using savings and one time funds, while reducing and reallocating resources and while identifying efficiencies (Solar Arrays), we have hit a financial brick wall in Rehoboth and are now faced with a budget override. Although the override amount in Rehoboth is for approximately $2.1 million, in theory, the school district's portion of the override amount is approximately $1.2 million and the Town of Rehoboth’s municipality amount is approximately $900,000. The timing of the override election (July 17th - set by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen), and the time it may take to sort these challenges out, it is possible that the September school year starts before the budget is in place. Please note that if the override fails in Rehoboth we must reduce our district budget by approximately $3.6 million. Dighton’s budget ($1.5 million) would be reduced proportionate to Rehoboth’s budget ($2.1 million).
The layoff notices (totalling 84) which you have heard about have been a very sad part of this process and were unfortunately needed by the June 1 contractual date for tenured teachers (27). A second round of layoff notices will follow this week before the June 15th deadline for non- tenured teachers (28). The custodial (5), secretarial (5), and paraprofessional (12) unions have also been impacted and have received layoff notices, as well as the administrative team (7) being put on notice of termination in which they compromise 30% of the administrative team.
Moreover, we will be suspending all sporting events and activities beginning July 1st until we have a better understanding of the impact of the 1/12th budget. In the event that the override passes on July 17th, all sports and activities will be reinstated. Should the override fail, our student athletes and those students that participate in activities will suffer greatly going forward.
On July 1, we will start a 1/12 budget of fy18 (set by the commissioner of education) which is ~$3.6M less than the level funding of the fy19 budget. We are told that the towns will be assessed monthly at the same rate as fy 2018. Unfortunately, Rehoboth will be required to pay more per month in fy 2019 since they underfunded the budget by approximately $828,000. If the override passes on July 17, we will recind all notices immediately. If it does not, it is anticipated that the School Committee will resend the budget to the towns until a tent meeting (Dighton and Rehoboth combined) is called.
This procedure will take time and would impact the start of the September school year. If the budget passes the tent meeting, then the Rehoboth municipality will be tasked with funding the $2.1M for their operations. There is no immediate answer or solution, other than supporting and voting for the override on July 17th and we are covering our contractual obligations to notify staff now. We will work diligently to rectify this unfortunate situation with the support of the Board of Selectmen, the Finance Committee and the School Committee.
We encourage all citizens of both Rehoboth and Dighton to attend the next school committee meeting at DRRHS beginning at 6:30 on Tuesday, June 12th, to hear a presentation of the budget impact to our schools and possibly the Town of Rehoboth. Please reach out to your elected officials to elicit their support for the override. The presentation will encompass the override impact to the budget, the 1/12th budget and the TENT meeting.
Please remember that we are all in this together.”
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