All-Island School Committee hears plans for special needs, OPEB funds

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Island schools are building a continuum of shared services for special needs children that will offer consistent programs and assistance, which could benefit students from kindergarten through high school, based on a presentation to the All-Island School Committee (AISC) last week.

Beginning this year, students will attend specific classrooms, based on their needs, as part of a restructured approach, Susan Dugan, director of student support services (pre-K to grade 7) for the Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools, told board members last Thursday.

Board members also heard a plan to catch up on funding $81 million due for retiree benefits and pensions (OPEB), and to pay for a $75 million high school expansion project using “tolls” on Steamship Authority cars and walk-on passengers over the next 19 to 25 years.

Island resident Chuck Hodgkinson devised the plan, which would raise almost $132 million without raising Island property taxes. He is currently making the rounds of Island boards of selectmen and key community groups to gather support for the idea. A detailed review of the plan was reported in The MV Times’ Aug. 24 issue.