With an eye toward trimming expenses, the up-Island regional school district committee this week postponed voting on a budget for the next fiscal year.

The draft FY 2021 budget currently stands at $12.8 million, a 4.5 per cent increase over last year.

But committee member Skipper Manter said the budget could climb even higher once warrant articles planned for upcoming annual town meetings are factored in.

At a meeting Monday, the committee voted to establish a special education stabilization fund that will go before voters in the three up-Island towns in the form of a warrant article next spring. The amount in the fund has not been specified yet. Two other warrant articles will ask voters to approve $290,000 for window replacement at the Chilmark School and roof design at the West Tisbury School.

The proposed stabilization fund would be offset by redirecting funds from the school’s circuit breaker fund — which has a surplus after graduating one special needs student last year. Committee members said the fund would ensure that the school is financially prepared to handle special needs students in the future, especially if they enroll on short notice.

The circuit breaker fund is a state reimbursement program for high-cost special education services, usually students with severe disabilities. The current surplus is $132,000 — which could decrease by the end of the school year, school officials said.

If the proposed stabilization fund is not approved, the surplus circuit breaker funds will return to the towns’ general funds. If the stabilization fund is approved, it would remain as a reserve fund and could be used at the discretion of the school district, without prior approval from towns.

Mr. Manter opposed the idea of the stabilization fund, taking issue with the fact that the amount is unspecified and also with the funding formula.

He said surplus circuit breaker funds should be used to reimburse taxpayers instead of being set aside as a future offset.

But committee chairman Kate DeVane and others supported the idea, stating it was important to have control of the funds in case they are needed on short notice in the future.

In other budget matters, committee members also said they want to bring down transportation costs, which have climbed this year.

Members also discussed a proposal for a new heating system for the Chilmark School. Head of school Susan Stevens said heat in the building is deficient in a handful of rooms, including her office, K-1 and preschool classrooms, and the art room.