On Jan. 1, the last day of the legislative session, the House and Senate enacted a piece of special legislation for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School District. The bill authorizes the school district to lease 4.9 acres of land to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, Inc. (MVCS). The legislation updates a lease between the school district and MVCS from the 1980s, adding 1.9 acres to the 3 acres already leased to the nonprofit.
“MVCS provides essential services to the Island, and empowering them to grow ensures that Vineyard residents will have greater access to vital health and well-being resources,” Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, said in a press release. “In partnership with MVCS, and the M.V. Regional High School, Senator Cyr and I worked hard to get this bill passed and onto the governor’s desk before the session expired.”
The legislation was brought to the attention of Senator Cyr and Representative Fernandes late in the session. In a short four-month period, Fernandes and Cyr shepherded the bill through five different committees and passed it through both the House and the Senate.
“This legislation will help Martha’s Vineyard Community Services expand the delivery of its successful community-based programs and increase its ability to improve the quality of life for anyone who needs help,” Cyr said in the release. “I want to thank Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School District, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, and Representative Fernandes for working with me to make this opportunity happen.”
“Martha’s Vineyard is taking steps to improve the mental health services that we provide our students. The passing of this legislation is a tremendous step toward that end. Dylan Fernandes’ support was integral to making this happen. Greatly appreciated,” Superintendent of Schools Matthew D’Andrea said.
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services provides a variety of services through six priority programs: Connect to End Violence, Early Childhood Programs, Disability Services, the Island Counseling Center, Island Wide Youth Collaborative, and the Thrift Shop. The programs are open to anyone in the Island community, and each year MVCS serves more than 6,000 people.
As The Times reported in March, the land provides MVCS with additional space for its internal wastewater management system, as part of a planned campus expansion over the next few years.
“We are deeply grateful for the partnership and continued support of MVRHS, Representative Fernandes, and Senator Cyr and their tireless efforts to help pass this important piece of legislation that will enable us to address the needs of our growing Island community,” Julie Fay, executive director of MVCSm said.
The bill is currently on Gov. Baker’s desk, awaiting an expected signature.