West Tisbury will take up school formula Tuesday
West Tisbury will hold a special town meeting Tuesday to reconsider its share of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School budget. Approving the new assessment would bring the school's budget into compliance with the requirements of the state's newly imposed statutory formula for regional school districts. The meeting warrant also includes five other articles.
Voters will be asked to increase the town's regional school assessment by $116,460 over the $2.2 million approved at the annual town meeting in April, bringing the new amount to $2,321,919. West Tisbury is the first of the six Island towns to schedule a special meeting to reconsider approving the new wealth-based formula over the existing per-pupil regional agreement.
Edgartown selectmen reconsidered a previous decision, and scheduled a special town meeting June 28 to vote on the new formula appropriation. Chilmark selectmen will take up the issue of whether to schedule a special town meeting at their June 5 meeting. Tisbury selectmen tentatively scheduled one for June 26, pending approval by the finance and advisory committee. Oak Bluffs and Aquinnah voted to change from the Island's regional agreement and go with the state formula instead. Those towns' assessments would decrease under the state's formula while the other towns' assessments would increase.
Under Department of Education regulations adopted in January, all member towns must approve an existing regional agreement, while only two-thirds of the towns must approve the statutory formula.
Oak Bluffs's rejection of the existing regional agreement triggered a budget review by the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School Committee, which voted to recertify it using the state formula and submit it to the towns for approval at special town meetings.
If four of the six Island towns do not approve the budget by July 1, the state commissioner of education will establish an interim budget of no less than one-twelfth of the previous fiscal year's approved budget per month. If no budget is approved by December 1, the commissioner will assume control of the district and establish a budget.
The West Tisbury selectmen have recommended approval of all six articles on the warrant. Other articles on the West Tisbury warrant will ask the voters to:
Redirect $5,243 of unspent funds from the space needs committee to the new town hall renovation committee.
Amend a capital improvements committee bylaw to allow the appointment of two at-large members, increasing voting members to seven. The committee now comprises one member each from the board of selectmen, the finance committee, the planning board, the board of assessors, and the town treasurer as voting members, and the town accountant as an ex-officio member.
Appropriate $2,500 from free cash for the town's share of costs to develop an Up-Island distribution antennae system to improve cell phone service. The proposal has been under consideration for several months and would be done in cooperation with Chilmark and Aquinnah.
Approve borrowing of $1.5 million by the Martha's Vineyard Refuse Disposal and Resource Recovery District's for land acquisition.
Appropriate $116,460 from free cash, the amount needed for the regional high school assessment, in order to reduce the fiscal year 2008 tax levy.