A College Point school community came together to celebrate their participatory budgeting win in a way that is sure to “stick” for years to come.
On May 14, dozens of students, parents, teachers and faculty at P.S. 129 Patricia Larkin, as well as Councilman Paul Vallone, celebrated their first place status, which earned them a $400,000 full gymnasium renovation.
During voting, physical education teachers David Sommer, Craig Krupski, Neequaye Williams and Ron Sandow promised students that if their project got the most votes, they would get the opportunity to duct tape their teachers to the gym walls.
The College Point public school earned 2,009 votes, followed by 1,807 votes for Bayside High School’s green biome and 1,574 votes for NYPD security cameras.
“Every year, I look forward to seeing the new and creative ways our community members motivate their neighbors during the participatory budgeting process,” said Vallone. “Congratulations again to Principal Marilyn Alesi, Assistant Principals Angela Fiorenza and Denise Smith, and the entire P.S. 129 community. I can’t wait to visit the school again to see the final result!”
In March and April, Council District 19 residents voted for up to five projects from a list of 20. Vallone supplied funding the top three projects at the end of the voting period on April 7. Councilmembers who participate in participatory budgeting allocate at least $1 million from their budget for the winning projects.
“P.S. 129 had an exciting addition to our May Parent Event,” said Principal Alesi. “Thanks to Councilman Vallone, our school will be receiving funding for a gymnasium renovation. The staff at our school worked very hard to engage our community in voting. Our PE teachers went to the extent of volunteering to be duct taped to the wall of the gymnasium if the children encouraged their families to vote. The atmosphere at the event was electric as students hurried around the gym and kept returning for more tape. Councilman Vallone and some of his staff joined us to add to the fun.”
This spring, residents cast over 8,500 votes, which beat out northeast Queens’ previous record. Council District 19 also garnered the most votes in the entire city. Historically, district residents in Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst, College Point, Douglaston, Little Neck, Malba, North Flushing and Whitestone cast over 5,000 votes each year.
“We would like to thank our administration, staff and all community members for supporting our school in the participatory budgeting vote,” said the PS 129 gym teachers in a joint statement. “It was an amazing night for a good cause. Our students are going to love the gymnasium renovation! School pride night was a great success for all involved, and we would like to thank Councilman Vallone for his continued support of our school.”