July 6, 2022

Azar Responds to Selectmen Criticism

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Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School Superintendent Anthony Azar has rebutted comments made by the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen at their Monday meeting.

Selectman Michael Deignan had mentioned a refund of $5.7 million in E and D (excess and deficiency) money to the two member towns. According to a letter sent out Tuesday to residents by Azar: “The Town of Rehoboth will receive a reduction of their FY22 assessment of $2,205,155.71. The Town of Dighton will receive a reduction of their FY22 assessment of $1,235,207.29. Additionally, the district will retain $2,297,637.00 of the excess as provided for by Massachusetts General Law (the regional school district retains up to 5 percent of their overall budget in E & D funds). Of this, the district has proposed using $750,000 to reduce the FY23 assessments to the member towns.”

Deignan said the money appropriated by the taxpayers of Rehoboth and Dighton was "sent to the regional school system which they did not need and did not use."

"That's the same time (2018) (the school department) needed the 'tent' meeting in order that they didn't have to lay off half of the teaching staff and remove art, music, and sports and everything else," said Chairman Skip Vadnais. "Shame on them for not knowing what they were doing."

“The BOS should be celebrating the E & D turnback to the district and the two towns,” Azar said Tuesday. “I will have a letter to the community explaining the turnback.  Both Mr. Vadnais and Mr. Deignan have their facts distorted as to the 2 1/2 override that benefited the town and the school district.”

“The COVID savings represented by the reductions to the towns’ FY22 and FY23 assessments facilitates an opportunity for the towns to prioritize the safety of their school buildings,” Azar noted. “While school safety is always a priority, the ongoing tragic events occurring on school campuses across the nation highlight the need for continued discussion and improvements regarding safety measures for our students, families and community.

 “Consequently, the school administration, working with local police and fire departments, plans to bring a security improvement plan forward to our school committee and to our two towns in the near future,” Azar added. “All in all, the regional school district continues to provide an excellent academic program with a multitude of athletics and activities while providing a social emotional learning environment to make students and staff feel safe. By utilizing this one-time COVID savings, with no additional cost to our taxpayers, to enhance the necessary security of our schools, we will make our school buildings safer for all staff and students.”

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