2012 town assessments for MV regional high school announced


Island towns’ assessments are up by 1.69 percent overall for Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School for fiscal year 2012 (FY12), based on numbers recently received from the state.

Under the state’s statutory assessment formula, Aquinnah will pay $252,011; Chilmark, $518,076; Edgartown, $3,351,561; Oak Bluffs, $3,652,788; Tisbury, $3,096,929; and West Tisbury, $2,303,894, for a total of $13,175,262 in apportioned costs.

In comparison to FY11 assessments, West Tisbury will see the biggest increase at $130,162; followed by Edgartown, $107,622; Oak Bluffs, $43,611; Chilmark, $30,495; and Aquinnah, $1,240. Tisbury’s apportionment, however, is $93,788 less.

Total statutory assessments are determined by a complex formula that takes a number of factors into account, including enrollment, local contributions from the towns, net school spending apportionments, transportation, other operating costs, capital costs, and debt service costs.

Superintendent of schools James Weiss provided the assessment numbers at a meeting of the MVRHS school committee Monday night on behalf of school business administrator Amy Tierney, who was absent. Mr. Weiss said the assessments have already been sent to the towns for inclusion in their budgets.

Since the high school budget was certified in December, Mr. Weiss said he and some school administrators and school committee members have met to discuss it with town officials in Edgartown, Chilmark and West Tisbury, at their invitation.

“For the high school budget, it has really been a very positive experience,” Mr. Weiss said. “Most people have felt that the small increase in the overall budget was very well done, even though in some towns the assessments did go up because of the differences in percentages.”

The high school’s FY12 operating budget is $16.603 million, an increase of less than one percent compared with $16.441 in FY11.

The FY12 budget includes a two-percent wage increase for teachers, under the terms of a three-year union contract they signed in September.

Secretaries and the All-Island School Committee recently ratified a new three-year contract that also provides for a two-percent wage increase in FY12. Anticipating the potential salary increase, a lump sum was included in the FY12 budget.

New union contracts for paraprofessionals and custodians are still in negotiation.

The MVRHS school committee voted to certify the high school’s FY12 budget last December using the state-mandated statutory assessment method. For comparison purposes, Ms. Tierney also provided a second set of figures for town assessments derived by using the high school district’s former regional agreement.

In 2006 the legislature enacted a new formula, the aggregate wealth model, mandated to go into effect in fiscal year 2007.

Up until then, the Island’s six towns contributed to the cost of the regional high school on a per-pupil basis, according to the terms of a regional agreement in effect since 1954.

The state’s new statutory assessment formula, however, takes into account each regional school district member town’s aggregate wealth, based on its total equalized property value and its total income.

Mr. Weiss noted that when the statutory formula was mandated, state education officials said the assessment amounts would be similarly apportioned to those in the Island’s existing regional agreement by the end of a five-year transition period, since extended to seven years. As Mr. Weiss pointed out, the two sets of assessment figures Ms. Tierney provided are now very close.