With little fanfare, the chairman of the Tisbury selectmen signed a letter to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Tuesday, officially withdrawing from the school building process.

The letter marks the formal end of the $46.6 million new school project that failed in the ballot box at the annual town election last month. The town will forfeit some $14 million in state reimbursement money and return to square one on the new school project.

School leaders looked on. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Last week the school building committee had voted to ask the MSBA for more time to consider its options. But the selectmen declined to endorse the request, effectively ending the process.

The letter to the MSBA was signed by selectman Tristan Israel, superintendent of schools Matthew D’Andrea and Tisbury school committee chairman Amy Houghton.

“The town is moving in a new direction to begin to develop a project that has greater support from the community,” the letter says in part. It also thanks the MSBA for collaborating with the town and explains that cost was a major concern for voters.

An addendum letter was also sent that said many in the community also had qualms about demolishing the existing building.

Selectman Melinda Loberg said Tuesday that the addendum letter was added as a separate note because the original letter was already written and signed.

Meanwhile, bitter feelings linger over an issue that has been deeply divisive for the town, and the next steps are unclear.

“It’s felt like for the last two and a half years we’ve followed a script,” said school principal John Custer, speaking about the MSBA process. “Now that script is gone, so it’s a little unsettling to not have an idea what’s happening next or when that’s happening,” he added.

“I think everybody’s just taking a little time to take a deep breath,” school building committee chairman Colleen McAndrews said. She said she was grateful for the MSBA’s support over the past two and a half years.

The school was accepted into the highly competitive school building process on its second attempt. Mr. Custer first applied in 2014.

“There’s mourning going on for the loss of this opportunity,” said selectman Melinda Loberg, who also sat on the building committee. “And I respect that.”

At the regular Tisbury School committee meeting this week, discussion about the next steps was limited.

“There is a lot of dissonance in the town right now,” said Reade Milne, a parent and member of the school building committee. But she and many others involved in the process said they hope to see the project move forward with a fresh start.

“I hope we can recognize what we’re all working towards instead of focusing on the differences,” Ms. Milne said. “I am very loyal to the town and invested in the process.”

There is consensus on at least one point: the aging brick school needs immediate work. Town administrator Jay Grande and town facilities manager Kirk Metell met with Mr. Custer last week to informally discuss the needs.

As for a more extensive school building process, Ms. McAndrews said she is looking to selectmen.

“My hope is that town leadership will take advantage of this opportunity to get everyone on same page moving forward,” she said. She added that the group working on the new version of a project will likely be different.

“I don’t think it would be productive to bring the exact same people back to the table,” Ms. McAndrews said.

Mr. Grande, who also sat on the building committee, said the MSBA process has provided a trove of valuable information about issues with the existing school, and that information will prove useful as the town moves forward.

“I spent the day downloading a lot of documents as it relates to renovation of the building,” he said on Wednesday.

School committee chairman Amy Houghton echoed the value of the process, saying the committee had the opportunity to learn from the MSBA, Turowski architects and project manager Richard Marks.

“They opened our eyes to a lot of opportunities, ways to cut costs, and ways to look at building for the future,” Ms. Houghton said. “The whole process gave us a really great framework.”

Newly-elected selectman Jim Rogers said there is no time to spare. “I want to start the process over again as soon as possible,” he said. “For me, the key is wide-based support.” Ms. Loberg agreed. “I happen to be very excited about getting underway with a new plan,” she said, adding that she would like to begin with a joint meeting of the selectmen and school committee.

Board chairman Tristan Israel said the town needs time to process the failed vote.

“We just need to take a couple of weeks and decompress,” he said. “But there’s no question the school has needs that need to be attended to.”

Mr. Custer said he always looks for silver linings.

“Now there is increased interest and awareness,” the principal said. “I hope we can transform that into a collaborative and inclusive process that leads to something positive.”

As the town waits for a formal response to its withdrawal from the MSBA process, Mr. Grande said the school will be on the selectmen’s agenda for the May 22 meeting.