January 28, 2023

DRRSD School Committee Offers Mediation

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In an effort to try to resolve a lawsuit filed by the Town of Rehoboth against the school district, the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School Committee voted unanimously to offer the mediation pathway. The committee charged Superintendent Bill Runey with reaching out to the Boards of Selectmen for both Rehoboth and Dighton seeking their approval to begin mediation proceedings.

School Committee Chairman, Chris Andrade, said “we want to reinforce that the district does not offer this proposal as any sort of admission of wrongdoing, but rather as a cost saving measure to both towns in hopes of resolving the dispute quickly and efficiently.”

In the Superintendent’s message to both towns, Runey stated, “in hindsight, it is clear that the communication from the District to the Towns and the Towns to the District can and should be improved.

In addition, I know from talking to all of the various stakeholders that issues regarding the relationship between the Towns and the District need to be thoughtfully addressed by all parties. I am grateful for the progress we have made under my new administration, and I feel strongly that this could be another important step towards DRRSD becoming unified in service to our students and staff.”

He went on to offer that, “the current perspective of litigating these issues isolates the actual decision makers from arriving at solutions to the legitimate issues that have been addressed in the litigation and in various School and Town forums. Thus, I have a novel proposal to present to both Boards of Selectmen and the School Committee. Why not engage in the process of Mediation with the Attorneys present to resolve outstanding issues between the parties? I accepted this job with many goals, but one of the most important is to help bring people together to find solutions to problems that have developed over the years. The We Are DR initiative has already gained significant momentum, and I am confident Mediation would assist in accomplishing our goal of making the District one of which families are proud to be a part.”

The School Committee is willing to enter into such a process as they voted unanimously on November 8, 2022 to pursue this path of Mediation. The Committee and Runey believe the Attorneys could use their best energies to find solutions to the issues that have been identified in the litigation rather than using their energies to continue to litigate. The feeling is that moving in this direction would be a strong message to our communities that all are united in our vision of providing the best education possible.

Towns were asked to discuss the proposal and inform Runey of their decision to accept or reject Mediation by December 12, 2022

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