The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School district committee voted Monday to cut at least $1 million from the 2021 budget, although where the cuts will come from is yet to be determined.

And more cuts may be needed down the road as Island towns and the state begin to adjust their revenue projections for the coming fiscal year.

“It’s with a heavy heart we make this recommendation. It’s not an easy recommendation to make. It’s not one made lightly,” committee member Kris O’Brien told other members at the meeting Monday night.

The school committee voted in early January to certify a $23.2 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, a 5.4 per cent increase over this year. The vote followed weeks of debate over how best to manage spending, as the need for facility repairs have grown acute at the high school. School leaders have struggled to develop a renovation/replacement plan for the building which was last upgraded in the 1990s, but applications for funding assistance through the Massachusetts School Building Authority have been repeatedly rejected.

At a budget subcommittee meeting earlier in the day and again at the full committee meeting Monday night, elected leaders acknowledged they are confronting new realities in light of the pandemic. As a result, a plan is now on deck to level fund this year’s budget.

“These are difficult times and there are going to be difficult decisions,” said committee member Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd. “However, I will stand by the fact that the facilities and capital improvements should not be compromised. They were compromised 10 years ago during the recession. We haven’t recouped that loss yet.”

Mr. Manter said he believes the committee will need to explore possible staff reductions in order to reach the target figure of reducing the budget by $1.01 million.

But Richard Smith, assistant superintendent for the public schools, said staff cuts should be a last resort. “Nobody and nothing affects student achievement more than teachers,” Mr. Smith said. “At the very last should we be considering cuts to staffing. I think the one thing that’s hands off is staffing.”

For now, the high school committee has asked high school administration to come up with recommendations for savings before the next budget subcommittee meeting, scheduled for May 26.

“This isn’t a conversation that anyone is enjoying. It’s unprecedented times. I think we’re going to feel the impact of it for some time. We appreciate all everyone has been doing as we move through this,” said committee chairman Kimberly Kirk.

In other business Monday, the committee voted to allow administration to proceed with procuring an operating lease for six new school buses, and approved a line transfer for a hot water system improvement project.