West Tisbury school repair planning needs town reps


West Tisbury selectmen considered a request from school superintendent James Weiss that selectmen appoint a representative to work with the Up-Island Regional School Committee, to oversee the repair work required at the West Tisbury School. The discussion occurred at the selectmen’s weekly meeting March 2.

West Tisbury owns the school and leases it to the district. The school is in need of extensive repairs estimated at $1.5 million, and West Tisbury is responsible for 80 percent of that cost.

Selectman Richard Knabel was doubtful. “I am still not very comfortable with this arrangement,” he said.

Jeffrey Manter, who serves on the regional school committee, said, “I think it needs to be a separate building committee with much more representation from West Tisbury. It is our building, and we are going to pay for 80 percent of the bill. I think we need to be much more active in getting this done.”

Mr. Manter also said that he does not believe that the school committee members have the expertise needed to oversee the project.

“It’s complicated,” Mr. Manter said. “I don’t think just asking for one representative is fair, and anybody we appoint to that committee should have strong building experience background in shingling, roofing, and windows.”

Selectman Cynthia Mitchell said, “There is probably a compromise here. I agree that one member from the town is not enough. I was thinking two or three.”

The selectmen agreed to schedule a selectmen’s meeting on Monday, March 14, at 5 pm, jointly with a special meeting of the school committee, to discuss the West Tisbury School project.

In other business, selectmen got an update on the recent inspection of the Nip n’ Tuck Farm property by state Department of Agriculture (DOA) officials, following a complaint that the operation of dirt bikes violated an Agricultural Preservation Restrictions (APR). Town executive secretary Jennifer Rand said she expects a DOA report on the inspection.

Mr. Knabel said that following the annual town meeting the selectmen would consider whether to ask the planning board to rewrite the town bylaws about noise and nuisances.

After last week’s meeting, Mr. Knabel told The Times that West Tisbury has taken steps to update the town’s database of APR restrictions, to avoid similar conflicts in the future.

“All the APR information has been inserted into the main database the town uses, which wasn’t the case before,” Mr. Knabel said. “There is also an ongoing reappraisal of internal communications to assure smoother handling of any similar situations which may arise. We also need to establish that all the zoning and permit data is accessible to the enforcement agencies. For instance, not all the APRs provide for oversight by the conservation commission.”