Up-Island school committee certifies $9.9 million budget

The Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) voted Tuesday to certify a $9,909,801 fiscal year 2015 (FY15) operational budget, an increase of 6.63 percent over the FY14 budget. The district’s three member towns, Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury, will be assessed $9,781,084, which is a 6.93 percent increase over last year.

The vote followed a lengthy discussion about budget changes made since the committee last met on January 28, school business administrator Amy Tierney told The Times in a phone conversation yesterday. At that time, the school committee members approved a tentative total FY15 operating budget of $9,959,806.

The school committee instructed Ms. Tierney, West Tisbury School principal Donna Lowell-Bettencourt, and Chilmark head of school Susan Stevens to come up with line item reductions to decrease the overall FY15 operating budget by one percent, or about $86,000.

Ms. Tierney said they were only able to come up with about $35,000 in line item reductions. However, the district was able to achieve additional savings in health care costs, Ms. Tierney said.

On Tuesday the Cape Cod Municipal Health Group set its health insurance rates for next year with a 1.8 percent increase, instead of the 8 percent anticipated. Ms. Tierney said the school committee subsequently instructed her to reduce the health insurance line by $50,000, and the teachers’ salary line by $8,000, to achieve the goal to reduce the overall budget by one percent from the last draft.

Although Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter expressed some reservations about the budget, he voted yes along with Dan Cabot of West Tisbury, Michael Marcus of West Tisbury, and Robert Lionette of Chilmark, to make the committee’s vote unanimous. Roxanne Ackerman of Aquinnah attended the meeting but was called away unexpectedly before the vote.