Southport to deny voters budget validation vote


We first blogged on this story about a month ago, when it was first reported here and here that the town of Southport had decided, against the advice of their school superintendent, to simply ignore the new state law requiring a “validation” referendum vote to approve their school budget.
The school budget for Southport was approved at its town meeting last week. Under law, they are to have a referendum vote by Monday, which would be 10 business days after the town meeting vote. They have made clear that they do not intend to do so.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, repercussions will follow this decision to disenfranchise voters, but published reports indicate that Southport is prepared to deal with them, even if those repercussions include the state withholding its share of funding for Southport’s school.
So, should the state be able to tell Maine’s small towns how to approve their school budgets? Will we ever be able to get school budgets under control unless there is greater transparency and voter involvement on the local level? Our recent report on the budget validation process shows that it does keep budget growth down and is very popular with voters.
What about the state? The report we released this week shows how the state has been shifting its own educational spending onto the local units. Should such a budget approval process be implemented on the state level as well?