Sports Return to Dighton-Rehoboth
All sports programs will be reinstated for the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional schools for the fall. In a compromise agreement with the board of selectmen, the school committee agreed to make $204,000 in reductions to their 2020 budget. As a result, the FY19 to FY20 budget increase is now $373,000 which is a 0.86% budget increase, rather than 1.32%. The total budget is now $45, 096, 223 for the Dighton Rehoboth School District.
Committee chairperson Katherine Cooper said the commissioner of education is being asked to set an increased 1/12th budget to match this agreed budget figure for the school district. The school committee also agreed to postpone the planned district-wide meeting until after the Rehoboth town meeting is held. Voters will need to approve cuts to the town budget. The school committee approved a $19.3 million assessment for Rehoboth. That figure matches the Board of Selectmen's requested number.
The school department has a positive outlook and believes the financial crisis is over. “We’re moving in the right direction with Rehoboth,” said committee vice-chairperson Rachel Dingus. “We’re working together as one committee, as two towns, one district.” Superintendent Anthony Azar explained 24 teacher layoff notices had been rescinded. Jobs in the district administrative office are being reinstated. “We’re still getting quality individuals who are applying for our positions,” Azar noted. “I think it’s a win-win for everybody right now.”
“Some of the cuts that are listed here are just minor reductions from different line items,” Cooper said. Until a budget is passed, no cuts can be approved, Cooper added. The school committee authorized the establishment of a revolving fund in order to provide money for sports programs. Jamie Jones, a Dighton resident, launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for sports. So far, $7, 640 has been raised by 101 donors. Jones’ fundraising goal is $15,000. “We hope that the money raised is enough to pay the fees needed to get the school registered with the different organizations for the upcoming school year before deadlines have passed,” Jones wrote.
For months, the school department had been seeking an additional $558, 797. Voters at the May 28 town meeting had rejected the school committee’s assessment for Rehoboth in favor of the finance committee’s recommendation of $18.9 million. The school committee opted to disregard the town meeting vote and continued to push for more funding, which prompted officials to hold a special town meeting in July. Selectmen had set September 17 as a tentative date for a Proposition 2 and a half override vote. Voters approved the special election at the July 16 town meeting.