In our schools… participatory budgeting?

Well I learned a new term today: “participatory budgeting”

It was being discussed on “Innovation Hub” in a segment about civic engagement

It was mentioned that the city of Cambridge MA does some participatory budgeting for part of it’s budget.
“The City of Cambridge is launching a pilot Participatory Budgeting (PB) process in which community members will directly decide how to spend $500,000 in FY 2016 capital funds.”

Both concepts seem to be alive and well at Sudbury Schools and maybe some other style democratic free schools. But perhaps pretty much at no other schools that I am aware of.

What if you asked the parents or (gasp!) the teachers or (double gasp!) the students how they think the school should spend it’s budget? How reasonable! How obvious!

At Sudbury Valley School there is a Financial Management Committee that is made up School Meeting members (students and staff). Each spring, they prepare and present the budget and it is discussed over several meetings, and approved by School Meeting.

Voila. Participatory Budgeting. No taxation without representation and all that…


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