Participatory Budgeting in Schools

This is "revolutionary civics in action" — participants learn democracy by doing it.

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 family voice, and involves the entire school in meaningful civic experiences.

Active civic learning provides youth for a lifetime of knowledgeable, engaged, active citizenship which is vital to the health of our democracy. Participatory budgeting is an impactful strategy for active civic learning.

Given the political landscape and emphasis on engaged citizenry, the time is right for schools and districts to adopt PB as a vital component of a stronger, more comprehensive education program.

What types of schools are doing PB?

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.

Since 2020, Brooklyn High School students have used participatory policy-making and participatory budgeting to decide together how to make their campus truly safe. Learn more about the Participatory Policy-Making model and toolkit 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.

Watch our PB in Schools video

A deep dive into a real PB process in Phoenix, AZ, this video is an opportunity to hear directly from the students and the adults around them how and why PB is civics in action, and how PBP can help you bring PB to your school, district, or community!

Evaluating Participatory Budgeting in Schools

Evaluation is a key part of growing and improving participatory budgeting. Our PB in Schools Evaluation Toolkit walks readers through the why, what, and how of evaluating school PB processes!

By examining how PB works, who takes part, and how it impacts
local communities and democracy, evaluation data can be used to make the case for why PB should be continued and expanded.

Download the toolkit!

PB in Schools Readiness Assessment

Discover what's next in your journey to bring PB to your school commmunity with this PB in Schools Readiness Rubric!

Participatory Budgeting School Policy Scan Report and Summary

Learn about how PB can expand across our school communities in this landscape report & report summary!

COMING SOON: new online course for educators!

Community Leadership through Civics in Action:  Bringing Participatory Budgeting to Your School. Our online course supports educators through the details of planning, launching, and implementing a successful PB process in their schools, rooted in principles of participatory democracy, and applicable to any K-12 educator bringing participatory budgeting to their school community. Sign up today to be the first to hear when the course launches this spring!

Guide to PB in Schools: A series of lesson plans and worksheets that walk you through planning, idea collection, proposal development, voting, and funded project implementation.  Althought this guide was developed for high schools, it can be modified for all age levels!

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