Participatory budgeting brings new opportunities to Perry

Students decide new school improvements

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Ever wondered of any ideas of what Perry could install or improve to make the campus more appealing? Well, for the first time in Perry history, the school is participating in a program called Participatory budgeting. This program allows the school to put fifteen thousand dollars towards making school improvements, and the decision on what to improve is totally up to the student body to pick. 

The way Participatory budgeting works is that it allows regular people (in this case, us students) to have power over actual money, thus allowing the students to have a voice. According to arizonafuture.org, “Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend a portion of the public budget.” Last year was the first year this program was available, and multiple high schools around Arizona, including junior high’s, are becoming involved with this program. 

Under the supervision of StuGo advisor Lerina Johnson, the Deca officers, along with StuGo freshman and sophomores, are the students in charge of making sure this new process goes smoothly. 

Johnson took charge of this new program due to her previous experience with StuGo and money management. 

The goal is to have this new improvement installed by the end of this school year, so deadlines for options are coming up fast. “To get it all installed before we leave [for the school year] they gave me fast deadlines” Johnson says.

There can be up to five finalized options, and students will be able to vote for their favorite option on March second. On voting day, students will be pulled out of their history classes to go vote on real voting polls with real ballots just as if they were eighteen. “[individuals from] Maricopa county voting are going to come and students are going to go into a classroom and vote like adults,” Principal Dan Serrano says. The benefit of taking students out of their history classes allows them to understand the democratic process of voting, and be prepared for when they are eligible to vote.

There will be up to five finalized options that students will be able to pick from on voting day. Some of the top options that are being considered at the moment include: bathroom upgrades, such as doors without gaps in the girls bathroom or urinal dividers for the boys restroom, more indoor seating, and even water bottle filling stations.

The options are being closely evaluated due to certain limitations, Johnson says, “How many students it is going to impact, is something we consider because we want it to be a majority and we don’t want it to be for just this year, we want it to last so it has to be something we can maintain.”

There are multiple different improvements that this money can be used for, it just all comes down to what the students think will make a bigger impact on the school, “It’s fifteen thousand of free money, and we really have to think of what we want,” Serrano mentions.  This new program is something that Perry will continue to participate in the future, and maybe even design a club specifically to be in charge of this new program.