Voters in Tisbury capped a long evening by approving the regional high school operating budget with an overwhelming voice vote.

The decision to go with Edgartown and Oak Bluffs in approving the budget rather than voting it down as voters in West Tisbury and Chilmark did, keeps the issue in limbo, with Aquinnah set to cast the deciding vote on May 9.

The school budget requires a 2/3 vote to pass, translating to four out of six towns. Previously, West Tisbury and Chilmark voted down the budget, looking to send a message to the regional high school with regard to the ongoing issue of putting in an artificial turf field at the regional high school.

Deborah Matters received a standing ovation for her years of service; she became moderator in 1999. — Ray Ewing

Lilian Robinson made the motion at the Tisbury town meeting to vote against the high school budget.

“This doesn’t mean that the high school is going to be denied funding ultimately,” Ms. Robinson said. “This is just a way to have a more specific conversation about how the high school budget is arrived at and also allows more democratic participation and not just nine members of a school committee that were not elected.”

Ralph Friedman agreed with voting down the school budget, citing increasing legal fees due to the school committee voting to sue the Oak Bluffs planning board which denied the artificial turf project over environmental concerns.

“The town cannot go into the line items of a school committee," Mr. Friedman said. "All we can do is make it clear to those five members of the school committee that the town of Tisbury will not approve it. Stop the financial drain ... and work instead on building consensus with all the towns.”

Superintendent of schools Richie Smith addresses voters. — Ray Ewing

MVRHS teacher and Tisbury parent Anna Cotton implored voters to support the budget.

“I get it that people are mad [but] the damage you do, when you level fund the high school budget, to our building and our students, is so incredibly destructive....Our high school budget should not be held hostage in this and I really hope the town of Tisbury can send a message ... that we are not going to do that to our students and our school.”

Superintendent of schools Richie Smith also gave an impassioned plea to the voters.

“I implore you, I ask that you please, please pass this budget. Please do not support this motion to zero out this assessment,” he said. “It’s time to say that this is wrong. The motion to zero this budget is wrong. When people say this is our only avenue... Just because you have a right to do something doesn’t make it right to do.”

A voice count of Tisbury voters showed residents soundly agreed with Mr. Smith, denying the motion.

Amy Houghton, chair of the Tisbury school committee, then made a motion for a non binding additional request prohibiting more expenditures of MVRHS legal budget on the lawsuit, which was approved nearly unanimously.

The vote ended a four-hour long evening, with town meeting beginning at 7:06 p.m. when moderator Deborah Medders banged down the gavel to start the special town meeting, which preceded the annual town meeting.

Mark Friedman asks voters to approve the regional high school spending agreement. — Ray Ewing

Ms. Medders has been the town moderator since 1999 but earlier this year announced her retirement. After a tribute by town clerk Hilary Conklin, voters stood and applauded Ms. Medders’s service to the town.

Voters then quickly moved through the special town meeting, approving 13 of 14 articles, all by nearly unanimous decision, including an article to limit timeshares and fractional ownership in residential areas.

An article to amend and restate the regional agreement for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School which includes a new funding agreement also passed unanimously.

The only article to be voted down during the special town meeting was a proposed zoning bylaw amendment related to use of residential premises in connection with one’s trade. The new language aimed to limit the hours that outside business could be conducted at one’s place of residence, along with parking, noise levels and storage rules, among other stipulations.

Rachel Orr said she saw both sides. “I totally get that people need to work from home and they need to have work vehicles at home. I also want our children to be able to safely ride their bikes up and down the street,” she said.

Al Colarusso, who tows cars off-Island, pushed back on the proposed weight limit of 26,001 pounds for trucks allowed to park on residential premises.

“I take an issue with 26,000 pounds because my truck weighs more than 26,000 pounds,” Mr. Colarusso said

Town administrator Jay Grande. — Ray Ewing

The article was defeated in a standing vote 186 to 87.

The annual town meeting then convened with Ms. Medders bringing the gavel down at 8:12 p.m.

Opening articles on the 36-article warrant were passed in steady succession, including $200,000 to complete the reconstruction of the Owen Park Bandstand, and $100,000 for the town’s portion towards Harbor Homes of Martha’s Vineyard affordable housing program.

Voters also readily approved numerous capital appropriations, including $122,325 for dredging in Vineyard Haven harbor and Lake Tashmoo, and $200,000 to paint the exterior of several buildings, including town hall, the police station and the senior center.

Voters gave overwhelming support for funding the town’s share of a $2 million feasibility study for a replacement or renovation of the regional high school, joining approvals from Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury and Chilmark.

Funding for various personnel positions was approved, including an administrator for the affordable housing committee, an executive assistant for the police department, and a paramedic supervisor for the ambulance department.

The meeting adjourned after 11 p.m. with another round of applause for Ms. Medders.