Edgartown discovers $30k overcharge in high school budget

Edgartown paid nearly $30,000 more into the high school budget than it was supposed to. - MVTimes File Photo

At their regular weekly meeting Monday afternoon, Edgartown town administrator Pam Dolby made Edgartown selectmen aware of an approximately $30,000 overcharge in the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School assessment. The error was revealed at the first all-Island school committee meeting on Sept. 17.

Twenty percent of the budget is allotted to the high school, and the other 80 percent is split among all Island towns, commensurate with enrollment. The enrollment percentage was incorrectly entered when the committee constructed the FY16 budget, resulting in some towns being undercharged and others being overcharged. The total error resulted in $76,000 of overcharges.

“There was an error in the high school assessments this year,” Ms. Dolby told selectmen.

Ms. Dolby said the town would pay $30,000 less on their last payment to make up the difference.

“Is that because there was a change at the state level?” asked selectmen Art Smadbeck.

“I didn’t ask why,” Ms. Dolby said.

Ms. Dolby further told selectmen that those who were undercharged will not have to make up the difference, because of an adjustment to the school budget which covered the cost.

The all-Island school committee anticipates saving $79,000 from the health and dental benefits budget line, which, pending staffing changes, can cover the $76,000. Rather than an increase or decrease in spending, $76,000 from the benefits line will not be spent, ultimately covering the error. The decision about whether or not to move this plan was postponed until the committee’s next meeting.

In other business, selectmen voted to approve Bailey Boyd Associates’ $103,452 bid to manage the town’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Edgartown became steward of the $873,473 grant in January, meant to help Edgartown, Aquinnah, West Tisbury, and Chilmark. The group was the only applicant. The CDBG program is run by the United States Department for Housing and Urban development, and its monies are put toward community development needs.