Technology in Education and Upgrades to Neighborhood Schools Win big in Participatory Budgeting as Council Member Kallos Pledges More Money to Improve Schools
New York, NY—Over 1,900 Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island residents 11 years old and over voted in person or online on how to spend $1 million in tax dollars to improve the community as part of “Participatory Budgeting 2018 cycle.” This year residents were able to vote in the district office seven days a week as well as at multiple mobile “pop-up” voting locations and online by digital ballot.
This is the fifth year Council Member Ben Kallos participates in Participatory Budgeting, and the results were:
1. P.S. 290 MNS Re-Construction of Kindergarten Bathroom $200,000 – 792 Votes
2. Laptops for Public Schools $350,000 – 736 Votes
3. NYPL District Libraries Technology Upgrade $200,000 – 712 Votes
4. P.S. 183 HVAC for Cafeteria and Community Space $600,000 – 666 Votes
The three highest voter winners will be funded for a total of $750,000. Due to a strong showing and a close finally tally in votes the fourth project on the list of winners with a total cost of $600,000 will be given the remaining $250,000 from the $1,000,000 in Participatory Budgeting money plus an additional $350,000 from Council Member Ben Kallos’ discretionary funding to complete the project.
Upper East Siders have cemented their commitment to education as this is the third year consecutive year that education and technology win the top prize in Participatory Budgeting.
“Education and the well-being of our neighborhood children have always been a top priority for me, “said Council Member Ben Kallos. “ I am proud and happy that the residents who voted and participated in the process share that feeling and made it known with their vote.”
“Thank you to Ben Kallos for his continued efforts to improving neighborhood schools and working with our parents and teachers through Participatory Budgeting to secure the funding needed to rebuild facilities here in our school,” said Doreen Esposito Principal at P.S. 290 Manhattan New School.
"The New York Public Library is honored to be selected by the community to receive $200,000 in vital capital funding in support of technology improvements at our branches. New York City's libraries personify the democratic spirit of this great city, providing essential resources and services for all. Thank you to Council Member Kallos and the residents of the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island for your support of libraries," said George Mihaltses, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs at The New York Public Library.
“We are continuously grateful for Council Member Ben Kallos ’continued support of our school. Because of the participatory budgeting process, we’ve been able to start construction on a new science lab and a heating/cooling system for our cafeteria. Our community is thankful for Ben’s support, said Martin Woodard Principal of P.S.183.”
Ben Kallos is one of eight Council Members who adopted Participatory Budgeting in 2014. The Participatory Budgeting process has since grown to 28 Council Districts. The 2016 process allocated nearly $32 million citywide and in 2017 that number jumped to $40 million. Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process where Council Members pledge to allocate their discretionary funds however residents vote. These funds are capital and can only be used to pay for physical infrastructure projects proposed by community members called “Delegates” such as improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, and other public or community spaces. 2018 was the first year children as young as year 11 years-old were allowed to vote.