Recently I attended the North Deering Neighborhood Association’s annual meeting. I asked At-Large City Councilor Jill Duson and Mayor Ethan Strimling the same question I have asked for several years running: Why is the school budget vote held in May on a day no one is paying attention to voting issues except for a handful of voters?

This budget has never failed to pass. The total number of votes – somewhere around 2,500 – is always extremely low for the number of taxpayers footing the bill, and the budget usually passes by two-thirds.

Councilor Duson could not give me a reasonable answer to this question of timing; furthermore, when I pressed her, she became defensive and told me “that’s just the way it is.”

If one of her constituents is raising a reasonable question, it seems obvious she might ask herself the question rather than conveniently dismiss it.

Mayor Strimling informed me that they need to know the amount of money they would receive from the state early in the year (by May) so that if the vote should fail, it would give them time to do a financial regroup for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

If that is so, why don’t we vote on the school budget in November, which falls near the middle of the fiscal year and is the month in which other issues are brought to the populace for review and vote?

Seeing as the school budget is over 50 percent of my tax bill, I would like to see the opportunity for higher voter representation on this issue. My tax bill has increased 253 percent since 1989. My income has not come even close to that mark.

Daniel M. Milligan

Portland