After a long and heated debate on both sides at Tuesday night's West Tisbury Annual Town Meeting, the Up Island Regional School District (UIRSD) budget was approved. In the end, the people of West Tisbury decided they did not want to reduce the budget by $750 per student, even though the UIRSD budget is by far the highest per pupil on the Island, and one of the highest per pupil in the state.
In order to meet the proposed new budget, the school would have to make significant sacrifices, such as cutting teachers and programs. Roughly speaking, the reduced budget would have saved about $50 in savings per $750,000 property. Parents overwhelmingly decided it just wasn't worth it.
For us Vineyard parents—and parents everywhere, I'm sure—the debate brings up another question: What is fair when it comes to student spending? Should one school get more per student than another? And if the scales are not balanced, does it make sense to lessen the amount given to those schools who are currently receiving more per student, or does it mean that the amount in those other schools should be raised?
Correction: This article originally stated that the graphs included were created by the Up Island Regional School District. In fact, they are the work of West Tisbury town accountant Bruce Stone.