May 17, 2022

Bittersweet Victory for the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District

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Dighton-Rehoboth: In a decision released by the New Bedford Superior Court, the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District was victorious in defending a lawsuit brought on by the Town of Rehoboth’s Board of Selectmen (BOS). “This is a bittersweet victory for our school district due to the resources that have been expended,” stated Anthony Azar, Superintendent of Schools. Azar further stated that, “The school district spent approximately $140,000 to defend against this unfortunate lawsuit, and we now await the figure of how much the town spent in its pursuit of their false narrative”.

A fundamental question that one would ask is how the Rehoboth BOS can continue to attack its own school district, when the actual decision rendered by Justice Jackie Cowin states, “the district has a duty to act in the best interests and the benefits of its students, not the town’s Board of Selectmen.” She further states that the Regional Agreement does not vest any right in the Town's Board of Selectmen to obtain the District’s records. “The statute does not permit the town unfettered access to the district records,” due to privileged and confidential information that pertains to students and employees. The district is obligated to continue to provide records each year through the production of the annual report, which the district never disputed. Dr. Azar stated that during his tenure, he along with his administrative team, have always presented to the public the budget and the towns assessment according to the regional agreement.

In the decision, Justice Jackie Cowin states, “In addition the town has not provided any evidence that the district’s financial records are unusually complicated; if the town needs assistance construing the extensive materials it expects to receive, it can hire its own accountant or auditor to help make sense of the material.” Dr. Azar said, “The District will continue to reach out to the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen in order to work collaboratively with them in the future. Despite this bittersweet victory, we are committed to present our budget in a timely manner as we have done in the past years.”

Dr. Azar further stated that, “rather than working together, the Rehoboth BOS have made an effort to cast an extremely dark shadow upon our school district. Despite all the efforts and successes put forth by students, parents, and staff on a daily basis, the Board of Selectmen, through this lawsuit, has put the Dighton Rehoboth School District in a negative light. Working together, as I have stated from the beginning of my superintendency, would have been most beneficial to our children.”

It is truly unfortunate that the false narrative (lawsuit) concocted by the Rehoboth BOS that was first filed back in 2019 has created opportunities for political opportunists to take advantage of the Rehoboth and Dighton taxpayers. What would be best for the children, parents, staff and community for both Rehoboth and Dighton would be for the Rehoboth Board of Selectmen to cease and desist their negativity towards the school district and to work collectively to provide the best education for our students (Together Everyone Achieves More).

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