The Up-Island Regional School District (UIRSD) school committee will discuss the district’s fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget in a public session at West Tisbury School at 8:15 am on Monday, January 6. The committee rejected a draft version of the $10,056,088 FY15 budget following a public hearing on December 16.
The proposed spending plan was 8.2 percent more expensive than the FY14 budget of $9,293,160. Although the vote was 3-2 in favor, approval required a two-thirds majority, or four votes in favor.
Escalating costs for special education are the driving factor in the district’s budget increases, both at the district level and for its portion of the superintendent’s office/shared services budget, which primarily supports special education, as well as other programs provided to students Island-wide in five school districts.
During lengthy debate prior to the vote, the committee agreed to eliminate a proposed district secretarial position with a salary of $36,388, which reduced the bottom line from the previous version of the draft budget to $10,056,088. Committee chairman Jeff “Skipper” Manter of West Tisbury and Roxanne Ackerman of Aquinnah, who voted against the draft budget, said that was not enough and that there were other areas where cuts could be made.
Although the UIRSD’s bylaws state that the district should certify its budget by the end of December, after voting to reject it last month the committee members agreed they should discuss the details further before their next regular meeting on January 27.