Up-Island regional school committee starts new year with unexpected costs

The Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) school committee launched a new school year with a meeting at Chilmark School Monday night. School business administrator Amy Tierney said she bought a new 2013 Ford E150 van for the UIRSD for $20,310 through the Plymouth County Commissioners Cooperative procurement contract vehicle bid.

The van will be used to deliver lunches cooked at West Tisbury School to Chilmark School, and to pick up supplies and vegetables gleaned from Island farms during the summer for the lunch program. The UIRSD had to buy its own van because one borrowed last year from the high school is unavailable this year.

She also told the committee about two unexpected expenses for the district. A new student, whose family moved into the school district over the summer, requires special education services in a residential care facility, at a cost of approximately $172,000 annually. Ms. Tierney said the school district would apply for “extraordinary relief” funds from the state in February. Another new student requires English Language Learner (ELL) instruction at Chilmark School, which will require the addition of an instructor for 2.5 hours a day.

Ms. Tierney said the residential care, ELL instruction, and van costs will be paid out of School Choice funds, which the district receives for students attending its schools from other Island towns.

In other reports, West Tisbury School principal Donna Lowell-Bettencourt and Chilmark School head Susan Stevens said the school year got off to a good start for their students.

Ms. Stevens said the Chilmark School grounds have been re-graded, and that the playground, which was resurfaced with sand and wood chips, drained successfully during the last rain. Ms. Tierney said she is working with the project engineers on the final reviews.