The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School committee will use donated money to pay the attorney who has been handling its ongoing artificial turf litigation against the town of Oak Bluffs.

At a special meeting Thursday, the committee voted to accept two cash donations, totaling $5,000. They were contributed earlier that day to help fund the school’s appeal against the Oak Bluffs planning board, which denied the school's application for an artificial turf at the school in 2022.

The donor of $2,000 requested anonymity, while the remaining $3,000 was contributed by a group of friends represented by Regis Nepomuceno, school finance director Suzanne Cioffi said.

Both contributions fall below the $5,000 threshold for anonymity that was requested by Chilmark and Aquinnah voters through non-binding resolutions at town meetings earlier this year.

The donations come as money for the school’s attorney has been running low.

Following the annual town meetings, in which West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah voters refused to fund their shares of the high school budget to protest the litigation, the school committee agreed not to spend any money from the 2024 fiscal year to continue the appeal.

Attorney Brian Winner’s latest bill, which covers his work through last Friday’s summary judgment hearing in state land court in Boston, is $1,962.50, district finance director Mark Friedman said.

Mr. Winner’s only remaining obligation to the school committee is to report the judge’s decision, which is expected this fall.

“I am hoping that we do not need a land court municipal lawyer ever again,” committee member Michael Watts told the Gazette after Thursday’s meeting.

After agreeing not to spend any more money from the school budget on the legal case as of July 1, the committee had intended to pay Mr. Winner with unspent funds committed in the previous fiscal year, prompting some outcry from school committee members and residents.

At the end of the fiscal year, unexpended funds flow into an account that’s similar to a town’s free cash. Earlier this month the school said it had  about $8,000 left from last year’s budget.

But, after consulting with another law firm and the state’s Division of Local Services, which provides financial oversight for municipalities, superintendent of schools Richard (Richie) Smith said he was advised against using the prior year’s money for invoices from the subsequent year.

There are cases in which schools are able to continue funding work carried over from a previous year, Mr. Friedman said, but they are generally limited to contractors’ work and require specific language that was missing from the high school committee’s funding vote earlier this year.