City of Brno To Allocate CZK 1.7 Million To Schoolchildren’s Ideas Via Participatory Budgeting

Brno city council this week proposed the allocation of CZK 1.68 million from the city budget to the Participatory Budget for Schools initiative for the fiscal year 2022-2023. The initiative’s main goals are to involve children in responsible decision-making and spark interest in the school and its surroundings. Photo credit : Freepik

Brno, 6 Aug. (BD) – The City of Brno will again run a participatory budgeting program aimed at generating ideas from the city’s schoolchildren. The goals of the Participatory Budget for Schools initiative are to involve children in decision-making, teach them about responsibility and democratic values, increase their interest in the school and its environment, and provide them the opportunity to change things around them. This week, Brno city councilors proposed a contribution of CZK 1.68 million to be allocated to participating schools for the fiscal year 2022-2023.

Brno is one of the few cities in the Czech Republic that has implemented a participatory budget centred on elementary school students on a city-wide scale. “It is an effective tool for teaching students that they can control their surroundings,” said Mayor Markéta Vanková (ODS). “I believe it is critical that kids enter civic life with this in mind, and I am delighted that more and more schools are getting involved. We propose that the council appropriate CZK 1.68 million from the city budget, or CZK 40,000 for each institution.”

The school coordinator (a school employee) will oversee the entire participatory budgeting process and communicate with the office. The city has allocated CZK 35,000 for pupil projects and CZK 5,000 as an incentive for the school coordinators of schools that apply for the project. As part of the project, students will generate ideas, research the financial requirements of their projects, and assess whether they are feasible and realistic. Before proceeding to the final voting, the most popular initiatives will be evaluated for viability by the school administration. Students will present their final projects to their peers and aim to attract as many votes for them as possible. The winning projects are subsequently put into action by the schools.

According to 1st Deputy Mayor Petr Hladik (KDU-CSL), successful projects in the last year of the programme included proposals to modernise the terrace or school kitchen, buy tablets, speakers, 3D printers, school cinemas, relaxation zones with seats and bean bags, various sports equipment such as ping-pong tables, inflatable mats, spikeballs, gym equipment, table football and other games.

Brno has already had two years of Participatory Budget for Schools, with 27 participating in the first, 31 in the second. This year, 42 schools have applied, the highest ever. Deputy Mayor Tomáš Koláčný (Pirates), one of the originators of the project, welcomed the increasing interest, adding the participatory budgeting is “a great method to teach respect for others’ opinions, gain new skills, and enjoy the winning project together.”

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