The up-Island and Tisbury School committees voted this week to authorize their share of the funding for a school-wide testing program, moving the project along as the first few positive cases have been identified in the school system.

After months of planning, a proposal for a school-wide testing program was raised in an all-Island school committee meeting last Thursday. The plan, designed in collaboration with infectious disease experts Dr. Michael Stoto and Dr. Benjamin Miller, is a “surveillance testing” program, meaning it will regularly test a portion of the population to track potential outbreaks.

Under the plan, a total of 600 students will be tested weekly, through a pool-testing approach. Elementary students will be tested every two weeks, while high school students will be tested weekly, according to the plan.

During the up-Island meeting, committee member Alex Salop, who sits on the testing task force, said the $305,280 program will be funded in part by contributions from the local school districts, according to each school’s enrollment. School contributions will total $150,000, pending local committee approval, while the remainder of the program funding will come from private benefactors, Mr. Salop said.

On Thursday, the all-island committee voted to approved the plan and mandate testing for all students and faculty members entering the building, but deferred funding the project to approval by local district meetings.

Taking up the issue on Monday, the up-Island committee weighed their share of the program cost and the funding sources available to the district. According to calculations, the West Tisbury School will contribute $24,251, while the Chilmark School will contribute $3,800.

In the meeting Monday, principal Donna Lowell-Bettencourt of the West Tisbury School said she planned to cover the cost with CARES Act grant money awarded to the school earlier in the year.

But principal of the Chilmark School Susan Stevens told the committee that the contribution from the Chilmark School would be complicated by the absence of a clear funding source. “I don’t have that in the CARES Act money. I can take little bits and pieces out of all different categories,” said Ms. Stevens.

School business administrator Mark Friedman urged the committee to dip into the $98,779 up-Island contingency line item to fund the program. Although committee member Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter, 3rd expressed concerns about taking money from the contingency fund, especially considering the yet-to-be-absorbed $30,641 cost for hiring a full-time school nurse, the measure was approved after brief debate.

The committee voted 4-1 to authorize the transfer of $3,800 of contingency line funds to Chilmark, and to acknowledge Ms. Lowell-Bettencourt’s funding source. Mr. Manter cast the lone nay vote.

In the upcoming weeks, the school will work to finalize a contract with the testing company and continue to partner with the MV Savings charitable foundation for funding needs.

At a Tisbury School committee meeting Tuesday, members took a 3-0 vote to pay their $19,899 share for the testing program. The funding will come out of school choice money.

The regional high school committee remains the lone outstanding vote needed to approve funding for the testing program. A budget subcommittee meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m.

In other business Monday, the committee authorized the most recent steps in an ongoing capital project to renovate the HVAC system at the Chilmark School.

According to Mr. Friedman, after a bidding process, the appointed town HVAC committee chose TE2 Engineering to complete the design for the project. The town recently finished negotiating a contract for design and construction with the firm. Funds for the project were appropriated by the town, but reside with the school at this point, Mr. Friedman said.

Discussion of the HVAC renovation raised questions among committee members, who wondered whether committee authorization was needed to move forward. With funding residing with the school, the committee chose to vote, backing the project’s recent steps forward 5-0.

Also Monday, the committee voted unanimously to approve the third and final reading of a proposed mask policy.