Yarmouth Lawsuit over D-Y School Vote Dismissed by Judge

BARNSTABLE – A Barnstable Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit last week filed by the Town of Yarmouth over the process used to approve a new regional middle school.

The Dennis-Yarmouth School district put the school to a region-wide vote bypassing town meetings. The school passed by just 25 votes, with a majority of Yarmouth voters rejecting the school.

The lawsuit has prevented the district from finalizing an agreement with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to secure $44 million in funding for the $117 million facility.

Yarmouth Selectmen now have 30 days to file an appeal of the Superior Court decision.

“Appealing now would only hurt the relationships further with the town of Dennis and the school committee as far as I’m concerned,” said Brian Carey, a regional school committee member.

The school committee will seek another extension from the state to sign a letter of commitment to the project to remain eligible for the reimbursement.

That deadline had previously been extended from April to June 30 because of the pending litigation.

“We are here trying to do the right thing and trying to work together and it seems this lawsuit language keeps getting in the way of many, many things,” Carey said.

Officials in Yarmouth said they would drop the lawsuit if a new regional agreement is approved by both towns.

A proposed agreement from the school committee was approved by Yarmouth at town meeting, but rejected by Dennis residents.

The proposed new regional school agreement would have lessened the burden for Yarmouth and increased costs for Dennis.

The proposal would have Dennis cover 35 percent of the costs of the proposed new regional middle school and gradually increase the town’s share of operating costs over the next five years to a fixed 65-35 split.

Carey said the ball is in the court of the Yarmouth Board of Selectmen.

“It’s those five members who either want more from Dennis or have the power to appeal the Superior Court judge’s decision to take this down the road further,” he said.

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