Last October 2013, PBP began a year-long partnership with one of California’s foremost foundations to promote participatory budgeting (PB) across the state. Through our work with The California Endowment (TCE), PBP is supporting local advocacy for PB in the foundation’s Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program sites around the state. BHC is a 10-year initiative focused on empowering residents in 14 low-income California communities to eradicate health inequalities through community organizing and policy change. In each of these communities, PB presents a unique opportunity to channel public resources toward services and infrastructure that promote health and foster community economic development.
PB in Schools: Proposition 30 and the Local Control Funding Formula
Since PBP began working with Building Healthy Communities, a major shift in education funding in CA has presented an unexpected but promising opportunity for PB throughout the state. Through a new statewide tax passed by voters in 2012, millions of new education dollars are now flowing to California’s school districts, along with greater control over funds at the local level and new requirements to engage local stakeholders in the budget process.
In response to interest from advocates around the state, we held a webinar on this new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and international models of PB in schools and school districts for over 60 participants, with representatives from the California Teachers Association, Californians for Justice, and EdTrust West. PBP is now working with BHC groups and other community allies in Oakland, Sacramento, and Los Angeles to explore options for moving PB forward in schools. In the picture to the right, youth leaders and staff from Californians for Justice rank project ideas at a PB demo workshop in Oakland. Participants discussed projects to support student health and learning in Oakland and San Jose school districts.
PB in Cities: Long Beach, San Diego, Richmond
In addition to developing new PB models, we’re also supporting BHC groups in Long Beach, Richmond, and San Diego in launching new citywide and district-based processes. In November, PBP staff and Chicago Alderman Joe Moore went to Long Beach for a speaking tour, including a City Council briefing, several strategic meetings and a community form (pictured on the left). Since then, three candidates running for Long Beach City Council have endorsed PB, and a current council member, James Johnson, held a PB workshop with his constituents in February.
Right across the bridge from Vallejo, the City of Richmond is considering a youth PB process in conjunction with the city’s Youth Council. PBP will be leading a workshop at the Richmond Youth Summit on April 19. In San Diego, BHC groups active with the Community Budget Alliance, coordinated by the Center for Policy Initiatives, have also been meeting with their council members and Planning Department staff over the last few months to build support for PB. They’re looking at both district funds and CDBG funds as possible pots of money for PB.
Stay tuned for upcoming PB events in Long Beach, Richmond, and San Diego!
We’re now planning the first PB conference to take place in California, in the Bay Area in September 2014. Our 3rd annual international PB conference will bring together practitioners and advocates from across the state, country, and world. See more info.
Join us in expanding PB in California!