Up-Island school committee cobbles together revised budget

Excess and deficiency fund and circuit breaker tapped for savings

The Up-Island Regional School District committee plugged a budget shortfall during a meeting Monday night. — Photo by Rich Saltzberg

During the course of a long, drawn-out meeting Monday night, the Up Island Regional School District (UIRSD) committee managed to plug a budget shortfall created when West Tisbury voters refused to support a $300,000 Proposition 2.5 override request at annual town meeting on April 14.

Although the committee trimmed and reallocated a host of smaller costs, the most significant reductions in the request to taxpayers were achieved by tapping two sources of funds. The committee agreed not to hire a new teacher’s assistant, otherwise known as an education support professional [ESP], at the West Tisbury School, for a savings of $29,035 in salary and $16,425 in benefits. The committee chose to tap into its ‘circuit breaker’ account to the tune of $100,000. This is money given by the state in support of special education costs. And the committee targeted $135,000 from the district’s excess and deficiency fund, which is essentially any leftover money at the end of the fiscal year.

Chairman Michael Marcus of West Tisbury argued against any cuts in the Island Grown Initiative [IGH] school program, which teaches students about food and farming and oversees student vegetable gardens at both the West Tisbury School and the Chilmark School.

“I think we get a great bang for our buck out of that program,” Mr. Marcus said.

West Tisbury voters will be asked to approve the reconstituted UIRSD $10,285,000 budget at special town meeting on June 2.