Edgartown selectmen Monday asked school officials to put the brakes on a proposal to change the way towns are assessed for the superintendent’s shared services budget.

The up-Island regional school committee wants to change the formula used to assess each town’s elementary school share of the budget, which pays for a variety of services throughout the public schools.

Elementary schools pay for 80 per cent of the superintendent’s budget, while the high school pays 20 per cent. Currently, elementary assessments are based on enrollment. But historically more students have opted to attend the up Island schools through the school choice program than vice versa, which leaves the up-Island district paying a higher portion of the so-called shared services budget. Feeling an unfair cost burden, the up-Island school committee wants school choice students to be counted toward their residential town’s assessment, instead of the school they are attending.

The proposal to reallocate school choice money would result in assessments going up for Tisbury and Edgartown next year, while up-Island assessments would go down and Oak Bluffs would stay about the same. The West Tisbury selectmen and town finance committee are backing the proposed change.

Vineyard schools superintendent Matthew D’Andrea attended the Edgartown selectmen’s meeting Monday to discuss the issue.

“The students in the school choice program are assessed in the district of the school they attend,” Mr. D’Andrea explained. “They [up-Island school district representatives] would like to consider assessing them in the district where they live.”

The proposal is slated for more discussion and a possible decision at an all-Island school committee meeting on Jan. 13.

Selectmen questioned both the wisdom and the legality of the idea.

Arthur Smadbeck said state law calls for a representative committee to make budget decisions, and a written agreement on the assessment formula.

“As it stands now, we’re not in compliance with that law,” Mr. Smadbeck said. “That needs to be looked at, addressed.”

Mr. D’Andrea, who is in his first year as the Island’s top school official, said he has been unable to find any previous written agreement for assessments.

Selectman Margaret Serpa urged more analysis before any decisions are made.

“It sounds like they want a decision on that day,” Mrs. Serpa said, referring to the Jan. 13 meeting. “I think that’s premature. I think it needs more discussion.”

Currently, each town votes approval of the superintendent’s shared services budget. Mrs. Serpa said the all-Island school committee has no authority to change the formula.

Susan Mercier, chairman of the Edgartown school committee, also advocated more discussion.

“I think there was a tremendous amount of urgency,” Mrs. Mercier said, referring to a debate at a previous all-Island school committee meeting. “The suggestion I made is we take a lot of time. Even more questions have come up.”

Also Monday, selectmen voted to apply for another Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). Melissa Vincent, who has administered the federal grants for home repairs and child care subsidies, said the program has been successful in previous years.

“We’re nearing completion of the fiscal year 2014 CDBG grant,” Ms. Vincent said. “We have served 16 households. Of those, 14 were Edgartown households. There were 29 people living within those homes.”

She said the grants provided child care subsidies for 44 children so their parents could work, or look for work.

The fiscal year 2015 grants are slated to help 17 households with home repairs, and 48 children with day care subsidies.

Edgartown serves as the lead town in the grant for fiscal year 2016; towns apply together to save on administrative costs and increase their competitiveness. The grant will also be available to residents of West Tisbury, Aquinnah, and Gosnold.