Up-Island school committee okays West Tisbury School math funds

The Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) school committee approved requests from West Tisbury School principal Michael Halt to spend $10,000 of $15,000 allocated to the school in a research and development fund. Mr. Halt said $3,000 will be used to improve communication technology, and $7,000 to elevate instruction and student performance in math.

As a result of the state’s switch to “common core standards,” Mr. Halt told the committee on Tuesday, West Tisbury School needs to buy some new textbooks. Other funds will be used for a “flipped classroom” math program being piloted this year by fifth-grade teacher Sue Miller. At home, students view instructional videos made by Ms. Miller, and then come to school the next day ready to do the work or be coached on what they learned.

In other business, superintendent of schools James Weiss gave the committee members preliminary numbers for the UIRSD’s fiscal year 2014 budget. As is customary for the UIRSD, Mr. Weiss said he took the FY13 budget total of $8.7 million and adjusted assessments to reflect this year’s student enrollment figures at the Chilmark and West Tisbury schools. Aquinnah’s assessment increased by $207,292 to $946,929 and Chilmark’s by $185,000 to $2.1 million. West Tisbury’s assessment, however, decreased by $393,000 to $5.6 million.

“If nothing else changed, this would be the end result for the budget,” Mr. Weiss said. “It’s a starting point.”

Although staffing salaries will fall in the FY14 budget, Mr. Weiss said he anticipates a 10 percent increase in health care costs. With only four school committee members present, acting chairman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter suggested they wait to discuss the details further at their budget meeting at 5 pm, October 25, at the West Tisbury School.