Portland voters have a chance to invest in their future Tuesday, and they should not pass it up.

On the ballot is a single question: Yes or no on support of a $101.5 million budget? It would represent a 2.5 percent increase in the city’s tax rate, adding 60 cents to every $1,000 of property value, but there is a lot more to consider than just those numbers.

The proposed budget is strategic and imaginative. It protects core programs while building in important areas. It sets ambitious goals, and lays out the standard by which school officials can be held accountable. This is the kind of budget the whole community should be able to support.

The challenge for the community is to push forward with necessary innovation without support from Augusta. Portland taxpayers pay three-quarters of the cost of running the city’s schools, and while costs have been rising for labor, health insurance, supplies and technology, state funding has stagnated. Portland received $16 million from Augusta in 2011 and it expects to get $16 million again for the next school year. Instead of giving schools the resources they need to meet real challenges, the LePage administration has responded with insults and letter grades.

Portland school officials are wisely not waiting for Augusta to act. This budget extends early childhood education opportunities, which have been identified by scholars as the most cost-effective way of making all children have a chance to succeed in the later grades.

The budget adds to important core programs from kindergarten to adult education. It also pays toward the purchase of the old Goodwill building on Cumberland Avenue, which will create space for the West School special education program and the district’s central offices, allowing the offices to move and giving Casco Bay High School room to expand.

These changes will be good for students and families throughout the system, but the benefits go much further. A strong school system is an essential part of a healthy city. Good schools build strong communities, maintain property values, enhance local business and promote opportunity. It’s not every day you get to vote for all that. Portland voters should not miss out.