PB in Schools

Schools, school districts, and colleges around the world are using participatory
budgeting (PB) to engage students, parents, educators, and staff in deciding how
to spend a part of the school budget.

School PB develops student leadership, supports student and school success, lifts
up student and parent voice, and involves the entire school in meaningful civic
experiences. Participants learn democracy by doing it.

Where do I start?

  • Download our Info Sheet to learn the basics
  • Watch the PB in Schools video to see a process at work
  • Listen to our webinar to hear from administrators and students who participated
  • Download our Guide to Participatory Budgeting in Schools below
  • Keep scrolling for more details!

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Why do PB in Schools?

PB supports students learning and development

  • Students learn lifelong habits of civic participation
  • PB increases students’ sense of social responsibility
  • Students gain confidence in themselves and their ability to effect change
  • Students learn critical career and life skills including:
    • Collaboration
    • Research, interviewing, & surveying
    • Problem-solving and critical thinking
    • Public speaking
    • Financial literacy

PB strengthens school communities

  • Students and families become more actively invested in the school community
  • PB fosters better relationships between students, families, teachers, and administration
  • PB results in more effective school spending
  • PB generates new ideas to address school and community needs

What types of schools are doing PB?

PB is happening at every level of schooling, from elementary through college! Here are some examples of PB in:

Elementary Schools: P.S. 139 in Brooklyn, NY is doing PB with students & their families to decide how to use Parent Association and school funds. Read more here.

High School Districts: The Phoenix Union High School District in Arizona launched the first PB process in the US using district-wide funds. Read more here.

Colleges: City University of New York (CUNY) students in two colleges are allocating a portion of student government funds and other school fees through PB. Read more here.

What types of budgets are used for PB?

PB requires the school or district administration to set aside a pot of funds to use for PB. The larger and more impactful the budget, the more invested participants will be in the PB process and the school community.

  • School district budgets
  • School budgets
  • Principal’s discretionary funds
  • PTA budgets
  • School government budgets
  • Student activity funds

Watch this 3 minute video to learn more!