Dighton — Superintendent Bill Runey, together with Dighton Board of Selectmen Chairman Peter Caron, School Committee Chairman Aaron Morse, and Town Administrator Michael Mullen, Jr., are pleased to announce that the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District has been invited into the Eligibility Period by the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) program for a possible building project at Dighton Elementary School (DES).
The MSBA voted today to invite DES into the Eligibility Period, along with eighteen (18) other districts, to partner with school, local and community stakeholders to further explore and assess opportunities to address DES school building and programmatic needs.
“Our schools are a source of great pride for residents, and they support our students, faculty, and staff in many ways,” Superintendent Bill Runey said. “While this is just the exploratory phase, we are very excited about the prospect of this multi-year process, and look forward to engaging with the Town of Dighton as we move forward.”
The invitation by the MSBA for the Dighton Elementary School to be entered into its Eligibility Period comes as a result of a Statement of Interest (SOI) submitted to the MSBA in April 2023 by Dighton school and town officials. The SOI outlined overcrowding issues, continual increases in enrollment, and obsolete building space for required education programming at DES, built in 1953 and added onto in 1999.
In August of 2018, Dighton residents approved the installation of six (6) modular units at DES to address increased building capacity needs. That project was envisioned as a five (5)-year plan. At the time, school and community leaders made a commitment to begin assessing longer term building capital needs.
The Eligibility Period is the first step in applying for building project funding assistance from the MSBA, a state agency that works with communities to support educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable, and cost-effective public school facilities. During the 270-day Eligibility Period, the MSBA will work with the District to determine the financial and community readiness to enter the MSBA Capital Pipeline.
Prior to the invitation of Dighton into the Eligibility Period, the MSBA acknowledged that Dighton’s proposal had received the strong support of state Rep. Patricia Haddad and state Sen. Marc Pacheco.
“Today’s vote by the MSBA demonstrates the productive partnership that school district and town officials have in working to thoughtfully plan for Dighton’s future in the most cost-effective manner, for our students, families, and all town residents,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Peter Caron. “I thank Superintendent Runey for his leadership in bringing this project to the forefront. The Board of Selectmen looks forward to working with the MSBA, our school community, and town residents to kick-off the process.”
The invitation of Dighton into the Eligibility Period is expected to begin a partnership between the District, Town and MSBA to assist in the program development and funding of school construction or renovation/expansion projects.
Dighton-Rehoboth School Committee Chairman Aaron Morse said that “the District would like to thank the Town of Dighton, the Board of Selectmen, and the members of the School Committee for their support of the Statement of Interest submitted to the MSBA for consideration of a project.”
“The Statement of Interest submitted earlier this year called attention to significant building challenges that have been widely acknowledged at Dighton Elementary School, especially since the installation of the modular units in 2018,” added Town Administrator Michael Mullen. “We are grateful for the support of the MSBA to partner with the Dighton community to begin an Eligibility Period to further assess the school’s building, space, and programmatic needs, and we’re excited to begin moving through the process.”