Did Save Our Schools Violate the Law?
A complaint filed with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance alleges that the members of Save Our Schools, the advocacy organization for the Dighton-Rehoboth regional school district, violated campaign finance laws.
In a November 1 message, Rehoboth Finance Committee Chairman Michael Deignan cites SOS’s solicitation for volunteers for the November 2 district-wide meeting. At the bottom of the volunteer sign-up sheet, there is an acknowledgment that the form was created “inside of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District".
“It therefore appears the Save Our Schools PAC is using resources of the Dighton Rehoboth Regional School System to organize and run their political action committee, in violation of state and possibly federal laws,” Deignan wrote. “I ask the OCPF investigate this matter with all due haste (the sign up form will likely be removed after the district-wide meeting which is scheduled for tomorrow, November 2nd concludes), and to pursue applicable criminal charges against the appropriate individuals of the PAC and school administrators who allow their resources to be used in violation of campaign finance laws.”
On October 30, a list of the group’s goals was posted in a message on the Reporter’s web site: The Save Our Schools Dighton-Rehoboth PAC works to support Dighton-Rehoboth schools by: Ensuring a fully-funded budget, spreading awareness and understanding of district needs, safeguarding the highest quality education possible for our students, holding our elected officials accountable, and calling upon our Regional School Committee and both Boards of Selectmen to act in the best interests of the schools.
According to the Save Our Schools website, chairperson Chris Hoskins is a recent graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth and serves as secretary on the DR School Council.
“The only thing (Save Our Schools) has used is (the district’s) WiFi and the occasional extension cord,” Hoskins said. “Everything that we own, we pay for out of pocket. We have receipts for all of our assets.”
As for the Google form which was used for the volunteer solicitation, Hoskins explained SOS was “simply sharing the form from the school district’s Facebook page. SOS was just using our platform on social media to spread the word.”