Get the facts about the vote.
Q: How much will the override cost me personally?
A: The estimated increase is about 10%. This works out to be under $2/$1,000 of value, or about $38 per month for the average household. The Finance Committee assessed a $455 average increase annually.
Q: What about the roof repair? What will that cost us?
A: About $4 per month per household, and that fee goes away once the roof is paid for.
Q: Are we going to need an override every year now from now on?
A: No, the override is basically a one-time reset of our tax levy. Next year, and for every year after, the Proposition 2 ½ cap returns. We could need another override years from now, but that would require a Town Meeting vote at that time.
Q: Don’t we pay enough in taxes now?
A: Right now Rehoboth pays a lower tax rate than almost every town around us. We have a budget shortfall because our tax increases haven’t kept up with the annual rate of inflation for 38 years. So, it’s not a spending problem: it’s a revenue problem. That’s what the override will let us correct.
Q: Why do the schools keep asking for more money?
A: Many of the costs incurred by the school district are from state mandated services, transportation costs, and employee health care increases - none of which we can really change right now. We do a good job of keeping our per pupil spending on the low side of average, but the costs we can’t control keep climbing.
Q: I don’t have kids in school anymore, why should I vote to pass the override?
A: The override is NOT just for the schools; the money is needed to fund all of the services and facilities in town, like police, fire, highway, the library, town office, the Senior Center - basically everything our town provides. If we say “No” to the override, we’ll have to take money from these other vital departments to offset the mandatory school expenses. Our whole town would be affected, not just the schools.
Q: What do our town officials have to say about this?
A: All five of our selectmen, eight of our school committee members, and our Finance Committee Vice chair have publicly voiced their support of the override. Chairman Skip Vadnais and Selectman Dave Perry both were vocal about their qualms regarding the vote, but both agreed that the town definitely needs this money. All members made sure that both those attending the meeting in person and those viewing it from home understood that the override is not just for the schools, but for the entire town.
Q: How can the school afford solar panels but not their own budget?
A: The solar panels were paid for by a lease with money that was originally intended to pay electricity bills. Eventually, the lease for the panels will be payed off. What we are paying right now is essentially the same as we would for electric. Soon, we won’t be spending, we’ll be profiting, which will go towards the FY20 Budget.
Q: What is a “tent” meeting?
A: If the override fails on July 17th, citizens from both towns, Dighton and Rehoboth, will meet together at one location to pass the school budget. If it passes (by a simple majority), both towns will have to pay what this meeting decides. This will most likely be a much higher amount than Rehoboth currently plan on, so the extra would have to come out of other town services.
Q: Why is the committee supporting the override called Save Dighton-Rehoboth Schools, not just “Save Rehoboth?”
A: The Save Dighton-Rehoboth Schools Ballot Action Committee was started by young adults who have recently graduated from DR High School. This committee understands that the override is for the whole town of Rehoboth, but they are called Save DR because they are operating from the perspective of current and past students from the district. Decisions we make in Rehoboth affect Dighton as well.
Q: I heard that the police department will lose money if we pass the override, is that true?
A: No, the override will not cost the police any funding. However, if the override fails and the school budget is passed at the tent meeting, Rehoboth will be forced to pay whatever the state decides, which will then come directly out of the town’s budget.