What is so rare as a day in June when six Island towns can agree on something?

At a time when what divides us seems stronger than what connects us, an Islandwide committee created to negotiate a funding formula to replace the aging high school has done the near-impossible: crafted a compromise solution.

The funding formula has been a sticking point for years for Oak Bluffs, which has argued the existing enrollment-based formula fails to credit the town with the costs of hosting the high school as well as other nonprofits that don’t contribute to the tax rolls.

After six meetings, some grandstanding and a little give and take, the committee — composed of an administrator and select board member from each town — emerged June 1 with a unanimously recommended new capital funding formula based in part on equalized valuation and including extra compensation for Oak Bluffs. As a sweetener to those who complain that school costs have run amok, the committee also recommended that school spending be treated like other town spending, where any increase over two and a half per cent from the previous year would need approval at the ballot box.

Any actual decision to finance a new high school would still need approval by town voters, but the agreement in principle makes it far more likely that the Island would qualify for a grant from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which would cover about 38 per cent of the cost of renovating or rebuilding the school. The MSBA put the high school on the short list for funding in February, but made it clear that Island towns would need to show they had resolved their differences to get the money.

Now it’s time for the school committee to do what it should have done a long time ago: put a master plan for a new high school at the top of its priority list.

For years, a bitter debate over whether to replace the school’s playing fields with grass or artificial turf has eclipsed any serious discussion of the school itself, built in 1959 and sorely in need of renovation. Now the regional high school committee, in a 5-4 vote, has announced plans to sue the Oak Bluffs planning board over its denial of a turf infield. Whatever the legal merits of such a lawsuit, the courts are no place to decide what is ultimately a political issue, and the action by the committee will only serve to prolong a divisive and costly impasse.

Moreover, this new display of intra-Island warfare may be enough to cool the MSBA once and for all from releasing construction funds to the Island, as high school administrator Sam Hart warned at a recent school committee meeting.

“I see this as potentially having significant negative impact on the MSBA process, and there’s a larger picture out there,” he said.

The larger picture is of young people on the Island who deserve not only a better facility in which to learn, but a group of adults they can look up to. What better education than to witness people in power putting their differences in perspective and modeling compromise?

With a new superintendent of schools coming in and with town leaders stepping up on an issue once thought too fractious to solve, the school committee has a golden opportunity to reconsider its priorities and focus on a new high school.