RFP: Policy Consultant, 3 months

Request For Proposals: Policy Consultant, 3 months


Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) is seeking an educational policy consultant (individual, team, or organization) to partner with in developing a policy guide that advocates for expanding the practice of participatory budgeting (PB) in schools across the U.S. Over the next three months, the selected partner(s) will work with PBP staff and a dedicated project consultant to research and develop content for a resource targeted to education sector decision-makers.


For 10 years, the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) has empowered people to participate in democracy through revolutionary civics in action. Participatory budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It gives people real power over the money that affects their lives. We create and support PB processes in cities, schools, and public agencies across the United States and Canada to address deep community needs, develop new community leaders, and make public budgets more equitable and effective. Through our work with partners in over 30 cities, we have engaged over 400,000 people in deciding how to spend $300 million.

Schools, school districts, and colleges around the world are already 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. (Visit here for more information on PBP’s work on PB in schools.)

PBP is committed to expanding PB in schools and school districts across the U.S. PBP already has a toolkit on how to run a PB process in a school or school district. What we don’t yet have are policy materials that show decision-makers why implementing PB is a good idea in the first place. The purpose of this initiative is to create those materials—and to specifically show decision-makers how PB aligns with existing educational policies and mandates.


The selected partner(s) will work with PBP to: 

  • Research and recommend 3-4 places (states, school districts, educational systems) that are ripe for PB expansion. 
    • PBP expects this analysis to focus on places with a cluster of districts that are embracing key educational trends that align with PB, including: civics education, student leadership, student organizing, community schools, and a more holistic focus on social/emotional learning. PBP can help guide the development of additional selection criteria and provide a set of initial research leads.
  • Research and document 3-4 case studies that demonstrate how relevant educational policies and mandates of the selected places align with PB.
  • Synthesize and write content that reflects project research, to be used in short briefing documents and presentation slide decks.

PBP anticipates that the majority of the research for this project will involve collecting existing information, including relevant information from state Every Student Succeeds Act plans and existing best practice guidance on how to infuse curricula with programs like PB. A limited number of stakeholder interviews will likely be expected, particularly with key decision-makers in the places being profiled.


February 2020: Initial research and stakeholder interviews

February-March: Writing and final product design

April 1: Deadline for project completion


The selected partner(s) will receive up to $10,000 to collaborate with PBP to complete the research and content development of the policy resource.


Desired Qualifications

PBP is looking for an educational policy consultant (individual, team, or organization) who:

  • Has a good sense of what typologies/schools of thought exist among states—and what states are leaders capable of inspiring other states to adopt new programs and trends.
  • Has an understanding of how educational policy turns into curriculum.
  • Focuses on or has a familiarity with states that have significant urban populations, and/or a focus on/familiarity with places with significant educational attainment gaps based on race and socioeconomic status.
  • Can complete the project within the given timeline.


The following qualifications are helpful but not essential:

  • Experience translating research into model resolutions for school boards or education-related legislative bodies.
  • Ability to help PBP network in places that are research targets (and particularly having contacts who might provide feedback on project research).
  • Experience having done similar research in a campaign/advocacy context.


Selection Process

Please send a 1-2 page narrative of your qualifications and interest along with a sample research or policy product.

PBP staff and expert advisors will review your proposal, and the PBP project leads will select the top candidate based on the criteria described above. 


Submissions should be emailed to info@participatorybudgeting.org with “PB in Schools Policy Guide” in the subject line by February 11, 2020.  Earlier applications are encouraged.