The regional high school district committee voted to certify a $21.2 million operating budget for fiscal year 2019 on Monday evening, an increase of 6.5 per cent over last year’s budget.

The increase is fueled by higher insurance costs, future obligations for employee retirement costs and a stepped-up schedule of maintenance for the high school campus, school officials said.

The budget includes $2.4 million for employee medical insurance benefits, a fixed cost that amounts to an increase of $401,347, or 20.4 per cent, over last year. General liability, property and vehicle insurance also increased.

Also in the fixed cost section of the budget is OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits). The high school is behind in funding OPEB, health and other benefits for school employees who will retire in the future.

The budget increases funding for OPEB by $350,000, to $838,783, an increase of 72.6 per cent.

“This budget addresses our OPEB obligation,” Vineyard schools superintendent Matthew D’Andrea said. “We’re taking a step toward our three-year plan, so we get to the normal cost for OPEB.”

The total projected spending is $6.1 million.

The instruction segment of the budget, which includes salaries for teachers and other high school staff, totals $10.8 million, an increase of 3.8 per cent.

The operation and maintenance of plants section of the budget will see a 10.5 per cent year-to-year increase. The maintenance budget totals $2 million.

That includes $390,794, an increase of $205,294, in long-term maintenance work such as flooring, siding, windows and building systems.

The new budget also includes $107,500 for athletic field maintenance this year. The school budgeted no money for the line item last year.

“The needs of the building, we’re playing catch up with that,” said Mr. D’Andrea. “We’ve made some really significant progress over the past couple of years. We’re continuing to make sure that we’re addressing the needs of the building. That certainly has impacted this budget.”

The segment of the budget which covers other school and community services for the high school, such as bus transportation, the school nurse, the school resource police officer and athletics, increased by to $1.5 million.

The six towns are assessed to pay for the high school budget at their annual town meetings in the spring using a formula based on enrollment. Assessments break down as follows:

Aquinnah, $317,843; Chilmark $809,054; Edgartown, $4.8 million; Oak Bluffs, $5.1 million; Tisbury, $4.6 million, West Tisbury, $2.8 million.