One Queens lawmaker is giving power directly to local schools and their students to decide which capital projects they would like to see funded with a share of $2.1 million through the first-ever “Participatory Budgeting in Schools” process.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is expanding her Participatory Budgeting process, which allows communities to vote on projects they would like to see funded, into local schools in order to reach a greater number of residents, and empower students and parents in the democratic decision-making process.
In all, 21 schools in and around NYC Council District 30, which covers Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven and Woodside, will receive $100,000 each — for a total of $2.1 million — for capital upgrades.
“This project will not only provide upgrades for local schools, but also give a lesson in civics to our students,” Crowley said. “Nobody knows the needs of our schools better than the students and parents. Ultimately, I believe participatory budgeting in schools will empower the school community in a way that has not been done before. And when they participate, students and parents will see firsthand how their vote can make a difference.”
In the “Participatory Budgeting in Schools” process, each school will have three proposals on their ballots, and will get to vote for two of them. Proposals to be voted on include water bottle re-fill stations; surveillance cameras; Smartboards; laptops; Smarttables; auditorium renovations such as audio-visual upgrades, lighting, curtains and seats; and gym renovations such as floors, bleachers and score boards.
Elementary and middle school students will vote the week of March 24, while high schools will vote the week of March 27. All ballots must be returned by March 31 to be counted.