As the fiscal year nears an end, the high school is anticipating some $230,000 in budget overruns, school accountant Mark Friedman told the school committee this week. He said the overruns can be tracked primarily to Islandwide school transportation costs and corrective maintenance on the ailing facility.

Principal Sara Dingledy said the facility costs are an unfortunate reality with a building that is long overdue for upgrades.

“This is what throwing good money at bad looks like,” the principal said. “We are putting money away consistently to do the break-and-fix model because we’re awaiting, and I think we have momentum behind a building project,” she said. “In the meantime I think our theory always was corrective costs were are what eats up our facilities budget.”

The school committee voted 7-2 to ask towns for permission to use leftover funds in the school budget (excess and deficiency funds) to cover the overruns. Committee members Robert Lionnette and Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd dissented.

In other business, the committee considered a proposal to rebrand school athletic programs, declined to rent out school buses to the planned Beach Road music festival, and rescinded its grass fields policy.

In an effort to rally school spirit, Vineyard Varsity club founder Joe Mikos said he has been talking with all sports teams in an effort to come up with a unifying symbol for the Vineyarders.

“There are roughly 20 varsity sports. Each one of those varsity sports has a different logo, has a different color purple,” Mr. Mikos said. “School pride happens from within, whenever a student, an individual believes they are part of something bigger than they are.”

The Beach Road music festival planned for August 9 to 11 in Vineyard Haven did not get approval to use public school buses to shuttle festival goers to and from their parking destinations.

Peter Sawyer, head of production for the festival, offered to pay or donate $10,000 for use of the buses, but the school committee declined, saying the buses should be used for the interests of Island children. School superintendent Dr. Matthew D’Andrea is expected to make the final call.

On a first reading, the committee decided to rescind a 10-year grass fields policy in light of plans to install a synthetic turf field. The policy was originally adopted in 2017 as part of negotiations with a community group offering to overhaul the fields using only grass.

“I think for purposes of clarity moving forward, given all the discussion that has taken place, I think it is time to make a statement that philosophically we don’t want to have our hands tied, that we want to have all our options open,” said committee member Kim Kirk. “And to do that, I think we need to rescind this policy.”

The vote was 5-3-1 with Roxane Ackerman, Mr. Manter, and Mr. Lionnette voting no. Amy Houghton abstained.

The committee also:

• Congratulated the school newspaper the High School View on recent accolades from the New England Scholastic Press Association;

• Accepted some $120,000 in grants for mental health services and cross-cultural learning;

• Set a meeting for May 22 for a committee to discuss the regional agreement that dictates how costs are allocated to the six Island towns.