Voters at Bay Shore High School on May 17, 2011,...

Voters at Bay Shore High School on May 17, 2011, for last year's school district budget vote. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

Politicians answer to the voters, but in the school board elections scheduled for May 15, voters will have their annual chance to exercise some direct democracy by saying yea or nay to school budgets.

Although candidates for county and state legislature are often assailed by taxpayers about sky-high property taxes, these politicians have little influence in that department -- local schools, run by school boards, soak up fully 62 percent of property taxes in this state outside of New York City.

When people get a chance to approve school budgets, for the most part they have done so. But spending so much on schools seems to leave taxpayers little patience with additional taxes for local services. Maybe it's time to spend a little less on the former in order not to starve the latter.