After hitting pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School are reconvening the high school building committee.
Since the high school’s building committee has not met in several years, Superintendent Matt D’Andrea said he wanted to reach out to each town and have them appoint a member to a new committee.
D’Andrea said the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) has said it is interested in working with the high school, but won’t get involved until each Island town is on board with a new school project and meets with the MSBA. “MSBA has reached out to me, and they’ve indicated they have a desire to work with us. As many of you know, there’s a substantial amount of money that comes with partnering with MSBA,” he said.
The kicker is that MSBA won’t accept the high school into the program until each Island town supports a new school project. “As you guys know, at this time Oak Bluffs has not done that,” D’Andrea said, referring to Oak Bluffs voters denying funding for a feasibility study for a new high school at their 2019 annual town meeting. “I’m hoping that by putting this vision together, getting an endorsement for the school committee and the building committee, then bringing the towns together with MSBA, perhaps we can work through that and get some sort of project done at the high school.”
Board member Arthur Smadbeck said it’s been a long road for a new high school, and that discussion of a new building has been sidetracked by discussions about funding formulas.
Oak Bluffs leaders have been vocal about their dissatisfaction with the funding formula, which is based on school enrollment, for regional funding. Oak Bluffs, which frequently has the largest enrollment, often pays the most for regional funding requests.
In turn, Edgartown has voiced its concerns with Oak Bluffs for not sticking to the funding formula that was agreed upon in 1956.
Smadbeck said he was troubled by a letter D’Andrea sent to the board that said the high school would be a “community center” and an “adult education facility.”
“Stop focusing on the community center, and we’re going to need this and we’re going to need that,” Smadbeck said. “We have 600 to 800 high school students, and we have to build a facility for them and a program for them. Keep our eye on that ball, and if we can do that, we can get everybody to move forward.”
In other business, the board approved an all-alcohol license for Katama Kitchen, which took over the former Right Fork Diner building. The change was from a beer and wine license to all-alcohol.