May 26, 2024

D-R Fights for More State Funds

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The Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District’s fight for increased state fighting appears to be making progress.

“Today, I share that your communications with Representative (Patricia) Haddad (Dighton) and Representative (Steven) Howitt (Rehoboth) were productive as we just learned that the House Ways and Means Committee is enhancing Chapter 70 funding in its proposed budget,” Superintendent Bill Runey announced in a letter to parents Wednesday.

“We encouraged legislators in the House to emphasize education as a priority and grasp the harsh reality of underfunding in the wake of inflation and the expiration of ESSER funds,” Runey stated. “As stakeholders in our student’s education, we refused to accept passivity in the face of adversity. We sought change to uphold the promise of a brighter future for our youth.”

Last month, the School Committee approved a budget of $51.7 million for FY’2025.

Runey had initially presented a $52.1 million budget to the committee in February.

The new budget removes security enhancements and what Runey calls “non-essential technology purchases.”

14 teaching positions had been cut, but following an outcry from students, two middle school physical education teachers were reinstated by the school committee.

 “This is a somber time,” Runey said at the March 12 school committee meeting. “Anger and angst are understandable and while this is of little solace, this is a statewide problem.”

The district is dealing with a $140,000 reduction from the state for regional school transportation.

In addition, D-R’s Chapter 70 funding was increased by “one half of one percent,” Runey noted. That amount is $70,000 more than the current fiscal year. The district has eight more students enrolled compared to the previous school year. He encouraged parents to voice their concerns to state legislators.

Runey remains cautiously optimistic about the state’s support for public education.

“While it is too soon to bank on this increase, we can celebrate that we were change agents. If this comes to fruition, it won’t solve all of our problems, but we will be able to regroup,” he added.

 

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