Matthew D’Andrea hated third grade. But in fourth grade he was assigned an inspiring teacher, Mr. Mansfield, who made learning fun and positive. “For the first time, I looked forward to coming to school,” Mr. D’Andrea said in a recent interview.

After heartfelt discussion about the cost of education on the Vineyard, the all-Island school committee approved a $5.4 million budget for superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss Tuesday night.

Midweek at the Edgartown School an elementary student was squealing in delight. He had just communicated to his teacher, Serena Santinello, that he’d like her to draw him a tiger. But he hadn’t used his voice to make the request. Instead he scanned the library of zoo animals on a speech output app, Proloquo, with a pointer finger, and had pressed on a small picture that was labeled “tiger.”

Ms. Santinello obliged, sketching a friendly tiger face next to a pretty young lady he’d requested minutes before.

A typical math lesson taught by Sue Miller, a fifth grade teacher at the West Tisbury School, begins with a joke.

“What do you call a crushed angle?”

But the jokes aren’t delivered in school. Instead, they precede a video lesson that students watch online for homework.

Rising costs of special education services and cuts to federal grants are driving a dramatic increase in education spending for Vineyard schools in the coming fiscal year.

Schools superintendent Dr. James H. Weiss presented an operating budget to the all-Island school committee Wednesday night totaling $5.4 million.

Enrollment at Island public schools increased slightly for the 2013-2014 school year, according to data collected on Oct. 1. This is the fourth year in a row that enrollment at the six Island schools has held relatively steady, reversing a nine-year trend of decreasing enrollment numbers.