Portlanders vote on school budget, whether to vote on school budget

6:16 PM, May 14, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Voters in several communities in Maine go to the polls to approve or reject their local school budgets but that process may be changing.

In 2007 a new state law was passed that required school budgets to be validated by taxpayers through a referendum vote.

Now that law is coming under fire in some communities where officials say the cost of opening up polling places and paying election workers is not worth it.

In the City of Portland Tuesday, the doors were open at eleven polling places but for much of the day poll workers outnumbered voters.

City officials expect turnout for the school budget vote to be in the low single digits. Mayor Michael Brennan says it is a waste of money to spend more than $13,000 to hold the vote.

Mayor Brennan urges voters to do away with the validation vote.

"That's the job of the council and the school board," agreed voter Toby Hollander, "We have a chance to vote for them every year so my feeling is we don't need to spend the money."

"The people that pay the freight in Portland have to have a say in it," countered voter John Brown, "If you wait for the City Council, they're going to keep taxing and taxing and taxing. We have no accountability in the City of Portland."

Three years ago voters were asked the same question. They voted to keep the validation vote by a slim 10 vote margin.


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