School Advocacy Group Prepared to Fight
Save Our Schools, the advocacy group which pushed for funding for the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District, is gearing up for the 2021 budget battle.
According to a January 12 press release on the group’s website, savedr.org:
“As we look ahead, SOS is eager for the next few exciting months in our school community. With some fresh new faces running for School Committee seats, we would also like to provide a fresh new way for voters to see who they may or may not be electing. This is why Save Our Schools is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a debate for School Committee candidates as we inch closer to the Annual Town Elections.”
Save Our Schools began as a Ballot Action Committee in support of the July 2018 Proposition 2 ½ Override, founded by DR graduates Noah Avila (‘18) and Matt Hebert (‘17). Avila and Hebert “led the fight for the override on the mantra ‘by students, for students, and were joined by parents, neighbors, teachers, and local politicians to help save the Town of Rehoboth from financial turmoil and the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District from economic depletion. After the override passed, the BAC was dissolved and all of its assets were donated.”
SOS later filed with the Federal Elections Commission to become a Political Action Committee. Chris Hoskins, a 2019 graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, serves as the chairperson. Rehoboth student Mackenzie Morgenweck (‘21) is Vice-Chairperson. Dighton student Madeline Beerman (‘24) is the Assistant Director of Student Outreach. Rehoboth student Lauren DeCoste (‘22) is the group’s Media Specialist.
In the past, the group has been critical of Rehoboth Finance Committee chairman Michael Deignan, who filed a complaint last November with the state’s Office of Campaign and Political Finance. Deignan alleged that the members of Save Our Schools violated campaign finance laws.
Deignan cited SOS’s solicitation for volunteers for the November 2 district-wide meeting. At the bottom of the volunteer sign-up sheet, there was 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, 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.”
Save Our Schools denied any wrongdoing and the meeting was cancelled. “The only thing (Save Our Schools) has used is (the district’s) WiFi and the occasional extension cord,” Hoskins told the Reporter. “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.”