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February 20, 2019

NYC students become school funding bosses

February 6, 2019
Students enter Stuyvesant High School. (Michael Schwartz for New York Daily News)

How should the city’s public schools spend their money? Ask the students.

Teens at 47 city high schools are getting the chance to say where $2,000 in school funds go in a new, citywide civics lesson.

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The Participatory Budgeting Project gives $2,000 for high school students to identify priorities and direct spending on programs approved by their school community.

Projects, such as new computers, outdoor gardens or updated school bleachers, will be proposed by students, voted on by their peers and funded this spring.

The undertaking serves as an example of how government works and allows students to make decisions impacting their schools, city Education Department officials said.

School principals — such as Queens High School for Information, Research and Technology Principal Carl Manalo — were primed for the project.

“We are excited to take part,” he said.

“[The project] will strengthen civic participation, elevate student voice, and bring the political process to life in our school,” Manalo added.

The effort is part pf the city’s larger Civics for All program begun by Mayor de Blasio in 2018.

The program to boost civics lessons also includes a student voter registration drive that has already registered thousands of voters.

The city is also developing new civics curricula and expanding training for teachers in civic education.

Educators will learn to tailor their lessons to current events and facilitate student-run advocacy campaigns.

In all, the programs will cost $7 million for their first year in operation.

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