Regional high school spending will again be the focus of three special town meetings next week, and though the school year is winding down in preparation for summer, the recent scrutiny of school finances is showing no sign of letting up.

West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah will all convene meetings to put the latest unanticipated school spending requests before voters. In all three towns, this will be the second special town meeting called to consider high school spending in less than two months.

The repeated requests this spring have raised hackles among some town leaders.

The flurry of spending requests follows the recent revelation that the school committee needs permission from Island towns to spend leftover funds in its budget, officially called excess and deficiency, or E and D funds. Historically, the school committee voted on its own to use E and D funds to cover budget shortfalls and special projects.

“This is a new process for the school district,” superintendent of schools Dr. Matthew D’Andrea told the Gazette this week. The administration discovered the requirement to get permission from towns in March. “We’ve learned about this regulation, and it’s a way in which we can and will be more transparent in our budgeting and spending.”

In the latest request, the high school is seeking permission to use some $230,000 in unbudgeted leftover funds for maintenance, heating oil, and transportation. Separately, the school is also asking permission from the towns to lease a school bus already included in the operating budget.

Earlier this spring, the three up-Island towns held special town meetings to decide whether to allow the school to spend E and D funds on a track and fields overhaul project.

Edgartown, Tisbury and Oak Bluffs have opted not to hold special town meetings, granting approval by default for use of the E and D funds.

In Chilmark, selectmen have voiced concerns that frequent use of leftover funds for unbudgeted purposes is a sign of poor financial planning. Selectman and board chairman James Malkin said his board decided to convene another special town meeting to highlight the concerns, especially in light of a major potential high school building project on the horizon.

“We need to have an organization that can run a capital building project effectively and make sure the numbers we have are accurate and consistently accurate,” Mr. Malkin said.

In Aquinnah, town administrator Jeffrey Madison also expressed frustration with the approach to towns for funding by school administrators this year.

“I think we always want to allow voters to have input into their actions as much as possible,” Mr. Madison said. He admitted that when he received Mr. D’Andrea’s request for permission to use more E and D, he balked.

“When I got the letter from the superintendent, my response email said, You’re kidding right?” Mr. Madison told the Gazette. “He obviously wasn’t kidding, so we’re going to have the meeting and see what happens.”

In West Tisbury, selectmen decided to hold another special town meeting because a town bylaw requires it for the school bus lease question.

“Seeing as we had to have the town meeting anyway about debt service for the bus lease, it made sense to add the second article about E and D expenditure,” said board chairman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter 3rd.

Mr. D’Andrea said of the $229,730 requested, about $100,000 is for transportation costs. The regional high school manages busing for all Island public schools, and with this year’s routes, staffing has been more expensive, Mr. D’Andrea said.

“There were runs that the buses were crowded that we needed to reconfigure. There were some special education needs of students that needed to be addressed that resulted in additional routes. And there were fuel costs that went over too,” Mr. D’Andrea said.

Building maintenance needs totalling $86,951 included a series of unexpected corrective maintenance repairs throughout the winter and heating system issues.

Increases in the per gallon price of heating oil account for the remaining $24,779.

Mr. D’Andrea said if they don’t get permission from four of the six towns to spend the E and D money, some facilities projects will have to be postponed. Those projects could include replacing exterior windows, fixing the hot water system, ordering new cafeteria equipment and reseeding the athletic fields, he said.

Meanwhile, citing frustration with the E and D requests, Mr. Malkin has also called on selectmen across the Island to meet to discuss high school spending. An all-Island selectmen’s meeting has been scheduled for June 20.

“It’s an issue that needs to be addressed,” Mr. Malkin said.

The special town meeting schedule for next week follows:

• Chilmark voters will convene Monday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. There are three articles on the warrant.

• Aquinnah voters will convene Monday at 7 p.m. There are three articles on the warrant.

• West Tisbury voters will convene Tuesday, June 18, at 7 p.m. There are two articles on the warrant.