DIGHTON, Mass. (WPRI) — All sports and extracurricular activities in the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District are in jeopardy.
There is currently a $1 million deficit in the school budget, which means sports, clubs, music and more will not be funded.
Dighton voters had agreed to fund the school committee’s 1.32% budget increase while Rehoboth voters have not. This has forced a so-called “Tent Meeting” in which registered voters from both towns will vote.
School committee members told Eyewitness News they are working on securing a venue for the vote. It would have to be large enough to accommodate the approximately 4,000 registered voters in Dighton and Rehoboth.
“The majority will rule,” Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee Vice Chairwoman Rachel Dingus said. “We’re not asking for a Taj Mahal here. A 1.32% increase is less growth than inflation.”
Dingus said the average tax increase for a Rehoboth household would be about $20 a month. She said the increase for an average Dighton household would be about $10 to $15 a month.
“Football is my life,” soon-to-be high school junior Jaren Ramos said. “My plan is to stick it out as long as I can and if we absolutely won’t have football at DR, I’m going to have to transfer. I can’t stay at a school where I won’t have sports because that will crush my whole college dream.”
“[Extracurricular activity] really affects your college admissions, it affects you staying out of trouble, it affects your physical and mental health,” parent Jessie Beerman said. “This is more than a budget crisis. This is a childhood crisis.”
Beerman is one of the leaders of “Save Our Schools”—a group made up of students, parents, and staff. They are spreading the word about the meeting next month.
“Both towns’ voters will have to fill this event and vote for education,” Beerman added. “That’s all we can really ask.”
A GoFundMe page was started to help save programs at the high school. As of Thursday evening, it had raised $5,800 of its $15,000 goal.