Ten Phoenix Union Schools Took Part in the Participatory Budgeting Project

Posted by Communications on 3/21/2018

Ten Phoenix Union schools took part in the Participatory Budgeting Project over a two-week period, February 26-March 9.  The schools submitted student-driven ballot initiatives, which were proposed projects, that were approved by a District team.  Large schools could spend up to $7,000 and small schools, $4,000.  The District partnered with the Maricopa county Recorder’s office to create a real-life polling experience with poll booths, actual ballots and vote tabulation machines.   The students campaigned for their favorite projects, and everyone who voted received a customized “I voted” sticker.

A total of 10,158 students voted, which was a 71 percent voter turnout at the ten schools.  Phoenix Coding Academy had a 92% turnout, Central, 89% and Metro Tech, 88%.  Students also had the opportunity to register to vote in real elections, and 800 students completed voter registration forms.

“Not only did our students have an early introduction to civic engagement by voting on projects that will benefit their school community and impact their overall   school experience, but they understand the important right and responsibility to vote and are now prepared to do so in our next local, state and federal elections,” organizer and District student support services manager Cyndi Tercero said.

The success of Phoenix Union’s Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) drew the attention of the International Conference for Innovation and Participatory Democracy, which held its annual conference in Phoenix, March 8-10, and was able to see Central High’s PBP live, March 8.  A panel of Phoenix Union teachers and students described to the audience how PBP worked in their schools.  Phoenix Union was the only school district to implement a large-scale PBP last year, and doubled the number of schools this year.  In recognition, Tercero and PUHSD received a Pioneer in Youth Voice through Participatory Budgeting award at the Innovations in Participatory Democracy conference.