From the Vineyard Gazette editions of January, 1955:
The first of the three town meetings on the regional school issue — those in Tisbury and Oak Bluffs — are to be held tonight. It is to be hoped that voters on both sides will turn out so that there will be a really representative vote. The regional school question is vital to everyone. Discussion has been widespread. Summed up, we believe that they fall under two headings: those relating to education and the opportunities to be provided for Island children, and those relating to hard cash.
The Vineyard communities will hardly be satisfied in future years with a narrower program than they have today, and where the potential program is now undeveloped or ineffectively provided for, they will insist upon progressive improvement. This is the same thing as saying that they will insist upon the regional school.
Having so long put up with science rooms of varying degrees of inadequacy but always regrettably short of the needs coming on, they will not accept more stop-gap measures. Having seen the business course restricted in quarters and equipment, they will continue to want what boys and girls elsewhere are able to profit by. So with physical education, art, instrumental and vocal music. The Island will not accept short rations in school facilities. It will want its children educated in the future and not in the past.
Without a single voice of dissension the town of Oak Bluffs voted overwhelmingly not to disapprove the loan of one million dollars authorized by the Martha’s Vineyard Regional School District, to be used for acquiring the land and building the school, in a special meeting on Friday night in the Oak Bluffs school auditorium. The vote was 157 to 96. The state’s share in the repayment of the million dollar loan was $350,000 and the Island’s responsibility was $650,000.
Edgartown voters, crowding the school hall to what seemed a little more than its full seating capacity at a special town meeting Tuesday evening, endorsed the regional high school plan by more than two to one. The article was on the question of disapproving the proposed bond issue. The town voted not to disapprove by 239 to 115.
Tisbury voters, attending in the largest number ever recalled, a special town meeting, voted on Friday night to disapprove the million dollar bond issue recommended for the proposed regional school. The vote totaled 606; for the school, 223, and against it, 383. The vote following two hours and more of the bitterest discussion heard in a town meeting in Vineyard Haven in years, although the surprising fact was apparent that very few spoke for the school. By this action, taken by the largest town in the county, the school in most voters minds is lost. It seemed quite probably that it was because Tisbury, the largest town, was slated to bear the largest share of the cost, that the vote went as it did.
Objection to the school in principle did not appear to be the case at all. It was, rather, the stressing of the loss of control by the town of its school; the feared lack of opportunity to have anything to say regarding the size of future assessments for the support of the school; and the comparison between the methods of meeting county expenses with those which would govern the operation of the school, which, it was represented, would be entirely out of the hands of the town as are even the county affairs.
Proceedings are to be undertaken by the state to bring under state ownership the remaining tract at the Edgartown end of the Oak Bluffs-Edgartown beach road which it planned to acquire as long ago as 1943. Since no agreement has been reached with a number of owners, the Department of Natural Resources will resort to eminent domain.
The most active enemy of the interests of Martha’s Vineyard in recent years has been the New Bedford Standard-Times. That newspaper is in large measure responsible for the operating deficit of the Steamship Authority, a deficit which represents nothing more nor less than a subsidy for winter service to New Bedford and the price of domination by New Bedford labor leadership.
Now the Standard-Times is applying for a license to place a television station at Nashaquitsa in Chilmark, where it would violently deface the natural attractiveness of one of the Vineyard’s most sightly spots. This location is not one whit to the advantage of the Island. On the contrary, it threatens the property values, the peace of the summer residents, and the future character of the Island.
We hope and believe that effective protests will be sent at once to the Federal Communications Commission in Washington. The Vineyard’s summer property-owners, who have a great deal at stake, should be sure to act promptly.
Compiled by Alison Mead