Budget Validation on ballots today
As I noted in a blog post yesterday, the budget validation process itself is up for a vote in some of Maine’s biggest school districts. When they go to the polls today, voters in Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, Scarborough, SAD 60 and SAD 52 (and other districts too, perhaps) will all get a chance to decide whether their school system will continue to use the budget validation process.
The state Department of Education has developed a “sample” ballot question, which reads as follows:
ARTICLE _______Do you wish to continue the budget validation referendum process in (name of school administrative unit) for an additional three years?
Informational Note (to be included with the article):
A “YES” vote will require (name of school administrative unit) to continue to conduct a referendum to validate its annual school budget for the next three years.
A “NO” vote will discontinue the budget validation referendum for at least three years and provide instead that the annual school budget shall be finally adopted at a meeting of the (voters, municipal council or other legislative body, as applicable)
Voters heading to the polls today should look carefully at what a “no” vote on this question means. For towns with city council-style governments (which many of the towns and cities voting on this issue today have), it means an end to voter approval of school budgets. If the budget validation question fails, the city council, not the voters, will have the final say over the school budget.
It is hard to imagine that people will willingly give up their voting rights. Hopefully, towns and cities voting today will follow the lead of South Portland, which voted to retain budget validation by a two-to-one margin last week.
So, if budget validation is on the ballot in your town or city today, get out the and vote!