The West Tisbury select board considered holding a special meeting about the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) regional agreement, which was sent to the state for review earlier this month, during a Wednesday, September 14, meeting.
According to West Tisbury town administrator Jennifer Rand, once the agreement was reviewed by the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), it needs to go back to the towns for a vote. However, there was an issue of when to hold a vote in the towns.
“At this point, the [high] school committee did not vote to request that each town hold a special town meeting,” she said. “But, there’s work that still needs to be done to educate the public and get this final regional agreement voted.”
Rand also said the high school renovation construction funding may see some changes to “the way the budget would be presented by the school committee to the towns.” She said MVRHS’ attorney released a letter stating under state law, special legislation would be needed for this to pass.
Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools business administrator Mark Friedman the special town meeting votes do not need to happen simultaneously, so some towns can do one in the fall and can vote during the annual town meeting in the spring. But, a vote by all six towns is needed to appropriate funds for a renovation feasibility study, as does the regional agreement. Friedman said both items need to be voted on before May 29. Even after the votes take place, DESE commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley would need to give the final approval.
Board member Skipper Manter, who is also a member of the MVRHS committee, said he thought they should wait until DESE “administratively approved” the agreement before a special town meeting was called. Board member Jessica Miller said the special town meeting should be done once the committee was ready with their materials. Both members wanted to wait until the committee decided to ask the towns to vote, which board chair Cynthia Mitchell agreed with. No official vote was taken.
In other business, Martha’s Vineyard Commission climate change planner Liz Durkee and lead facilitator Meghan Gombos presented the Climate Action Plan to the board. A PDF version of the PowerPoint presentation is available on the MV Times website. Gombos pointed out a typo in the presentation and that the website for the plan is https://www.thevineyardway.org/action-plan.
The board decided to delay making a decision on whether to send a letter to the state about withdrawing its home rule petition for 100% electrification. A draft letter is available on the town’s website.
The board decided not to go with Manter’s suggestion of using Grange Hall for a parks and recreation committee-hosted Halloween party and a town holiday party in December. Mitchell and Miller were against the idea since there is currently contention and questions about the usage of the hall, which were raised during a previous board meeting this month. The board was in favor of returning to this possibility after the issue had been resolved.
The board decided, without a vote, to deny Eversource’s request for amendments to its Panhandle Road conduit project conditions based on concerns raised by West Tisbury highway superintendent Richard Olsen, such as the amount of asphalt that would be poured. However, he said there was “wiggle room.” Eversource conduit supervisor Matt Viens said they will return with an altered amendment.