Students Given the Power to Manage Public Money

Posted on November 28, 2016 • Category: The Arizona We Want

In support of our efforts to create The Arizona We Want, Center for the Future of Arizona has partnered with the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD) on a Civic Participation Taskforce. The group focuses on several efforts including, voter registration, civics education in school and participatory budgeting.

CFA’s task was to focus on participatory budgeting (PB) as a different way to manage public money, and to engage people in government. PB is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.

PB gives ordinary people real power over real money.

Three years ago, the first high school-based PB process in the U.S. began at Bioscience High School in Phoenix, Arizona. This year, the PUHSD is launching the first school PB process in the U.S. to use district-wide funds, beginning with five public high schools and intending to expand across the district in future years.

On Sept. 24th, the Participatory Budget Project hosted a PB 101 Training for more than 60 high school students, teachers, principals, and PUHSD staff. The training introduced participants to PB by inviting them to take part in a mock PB process that began with idea collection and culminated in a mock vote.

After learning PB by doing it, trained facilitators worked with teams of students, teachers, and principals from each of the five high schools to begin planning individual PB processes; each team discussed goals for their process, which model of school PB to use, who could participate in each phase of PB, and how they would begin collecting ideas.

In December, students from the five participating schools will collect ideas from their peers about existing needs the funds could help solve. During the Spring semester, the ideas will be turned into full project proposals to be presented to and voted on by the entire student body.



Center for the Future of Arizona
541 East Van Buren, B-5
Phoenix, Arizona 85004-2211
Phone: 602-496-1360
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