Rehoboth Files Lawsuit Against Dighton-Rehoboth
On Monday, the town of Rehoboth, through its governing body, the Board of Selectmen, filed a seven count civil lawsuit in the Superior Court of Massachusetts against the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District, its' School Committee, and "other potentially responsible persons and entities that remain unnamed at this time," according to a press release issued by the Town Administrator's office.
The lawsuit alleges the Regional School District and School Committee violated the terms of its' regional agreement with the Town by undertaking and funding capital projects without the approval of Town Meeting, committed fraud. and breached its' fiduciary obligations owed to the citizens and taxpayers of Rehoboth.
The lawsuit centers on two capital projects costing $15 million which had resulted in the purchase and installation of solar arrays and heating and air conditioning in and on the grounds of various schools operated by the district. These projects were approved by the School Committee and, in direct violation of the Regional Agreeement and State Law, were funded as part of the Regional School District's operating budgets without Town Meeting approval.
Because the capital expenses were incorporated into the District's operating budget instead of being apportioned to both towns as stated in the Regional Agreement and the Massachusetts General Laws, the town of Rehoboth has been unknowingly paying for a portion of the costs for capital projects located in Dighton's elementary and middle schools since 2016-2017.
As a remedy, the suit seeks to dissolve the Regional Agreement, as well as all damages provable at trial.
"As with all legal matters pertaining to the regional school district, the complaint will be referred to council to provide detailed responses by way of an answer that will be filed in court," Dighton-Rehoboth Superintendent Anthony Azar said Tuesday. "Based on an initial review of the lengthy complaint, we expect that the majority of allegations on which these claims are based will be refuted."
Rehoboth Selectmen Chairman Skip Vadnais declined to comment on the lawsuit.