The All-Island school committee is grappling with a steep increase in the cost of services that the superintendent’s office provides to students across the Vineyard, particularly in the areas of special education and staffing.

Superintendent of schools Richard Smith this week presented a draft shared services budget of $9,422,720 for fiscal year 2025 — a 15.64 per cent increase over the $8,148,666 spending plan for the current fiscal year, which ends next June 30.

Special education costs, including eight additional teaching assistants, make up the largest share of the increase at more than 8 per cent, according to a worksheet Mr. Smith distributed at the committee’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Contractual obligations to employees account for 4.66 per cent of the increase and additional staffing adjustments, including the addition of a part-time human resources coordinator, help make up another 2.9 per cent.

The school committee declined to vote on the new budget Thursday, with some members saying they wanted to bring the proposed spending plan to their town school committtee first.

“It’s all wonderful, but we can only afford so much,” said Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter, of West Tisbury.

However, district finance director Mark Friedman said Island towns can offset the increased central costs with newly-available funding from the Massachusetts Student Opportunity Act of 2019.

“The state is giving the school districts additional moneys... in large part to meet the needs we are seeing,” Mr. Friedman said.

The superintendent’s office receives none of this funding, he said, but Island schools will split a total of $1.8 million that is meant to help with rising educational costs like those for special education.

“The needs are driving this,” Mr. Friedman said.

Committee members agreed to resume the budget discussion Nov. 30, when they also will review the possibility of purchasing one or more of the four modular buildings now in use as the temporary Tisbury School.

The modular units offer less expensive space than anything that can be built on Island, committee chair Amy Houghton said, and could be used for much-needed preschool classrooms, among other possibilities.

The town of Tisbury also is looking at taking over one or two of the modular buildings, each of which comprises multiple rooms, Ms. Houghton said.

A sale price has yet to be negotiated with the company that is leasing the modular units to the town, she said. A special town meeting has been scheduled for January so voters can weigh in on the proposal before the company’s Feb. 15 commitment deadline, she said.