Skip to main content
Home Programs Education Programs School Participatory Budgeting in Arizona

School Participatory Budgeting in Arizona

Why it matters

We need strong and vibrant civic health to move forward on solving problems and building a bright future for our state. Evidence and experience have shown that the health of our democracy and civic life is linked to our broader individual and community well-being in meaningful ways. We know that more connected communities are more economically resilient, individuals who participate in civic life have greater access to opportunity and well-being, and policies are more responsive when everyone is engaged. Driven by this deep commitment to civic health, CFA’s School Participatory Budgeting (SPB) program is an innovative approach to equipping, engaging, and empowering our rising generation to be active and informed participants in civic life. 

How it works

SPB in Arizona is an innovative civic learning tool designed to improve student agency, collaboration and critical-thinking skills and prepare young people to be active, informed, and engaged participants in civic life for the long-term. Students “learn democracy by doing” through a process of participating in SPB steering committees on campus, developing proposals, and voting to fund improvement projects that build stronger school communities. 

The school model stems from the widely adopted municipal Participatory Budgeting (PB) model - a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend a portion of the public budget. 

CFA provides training and support to our partners to implement a year-long process, led by students working alongside their educators and the community. Students work together through a process of curating ideas, developing proposals, and participating in a campus-wide vote that educates students on real electoral processes. 

Our impact

  • Engaged 75,000 students across 70 campuses in 10+ school districts
  • Registered 6500+ students to vote through Vote Day partnerships with local elections officials and voter engagement organizations
  • Encouraged $455,000 public dollars invested in 65 student-developed school improvement projects
  • Engaged 850+ students in SPB Steering Committees
  • Trained 90+ educators to facilitate & implement SPB at their schools
  • Empowers students to discover their agency and collective voice
  • Emboldens students in decision-making processes
  • Fortifies youth-adult partnerships
  • Builds critical thinking and communication skills
  • Creates meaningful solutions to everyday problems
  • Mirrors actual voting processes and prepares young people to be lifelong civic participants

Our Partners

District Partners

  • Chandler Unified School District
  • Phoenix Union High School District
  • Sunnyside Unified School District
  • Queen Creek Unified School District
  • Roosevelt Elementary School District
  • Casa Grande Elementary School District
  • Flagstaff Unified School District

School Partners

  • Carson Junior High School, Mesa Public Schools
  • Emerson Elementary School, Phoenix Elementary School District
  • Arcadia High School, Scottsdale Unified School District
  • Williams High School, Williams Unified School District

Arizona Partners

  • Arizona State University Participatory Governance Initiative

National Partners

  • Participatory Budgeting Project

Key Funders

  • Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council
  • The Steele Foundation
  • United States Department of Education

Contact Us

We are actively seeking new school and district partners. If you’re interested in bringing School Participatory Budgeting to your school community, email [email protected].

We invite you to continue the discussion and work with us.