The New Pittsburgh Courier has learned that Pittsburgh Public Schools and the City of Pittsburgh are seeking 20 student representatives, across all nine city districts, to serve on the PPS Youth Participatory Budget Council (YPBC).
In a release provided to the Courier by PPS spokeswoman Ebony Pugh, the Youth Participatory Budget Council was spearheaded by Councilman Corey O’Connor in 2017, with a mission to provide youth an opportunity to vote for their preferred policies.
As part of the YBPC, members will learn about the inner workings of city government and the school district as they create a proposal for how to use funds on a capital project.
“When Councilman O’Connor approached me with yet another way to bring the voices of our students to the table, I was eager to build on the work we have already begun with our district-wide Student Advisory Council,” said Superintendent Anthony Hamlet, EdD, in the release. “In addition to providing students a chance to give input on governmental spending, participation on the PPS Youth Participatory Budget Council gives students an opportunity to advocate for a project that will benefit the larger Pittsburgh community.”
YBPC will bring together students from Pittsburgh Public Schools with their peers who attend charter, private, and parochial schools. As a member of the YBPC, students will serve as liaisons to their community and city council, share the interest and concerns of families in their community, work on an advocacy project for a City Council sponsor, and meet twice a month for open discussions about their ideas.
“I want to thank Pittsburgh Public Schools and Superintendent Hamlet for partnering with the city on the Youth Participatory Budget Council and for their investments in making sure that youth voices are heard,” said Councilman O’Connor in the release. “We as a city need to find new and innovative ways to engage young people in our decision-making processes, and by working with PPS, we can take steps to ensure that youth voices are incorporated into the City of Pittsburgh’s budget.
Students interested in representing their community to try to make things happen are encouraged to apply to be a member of the council at https://www.pghschools.org/YPBC no later than July 6. Applicants must be available to attend the Summer Leadership Training taking place August 13-16. For additional information related to the application process, request an application or learn more about the council, contact Asia Mason with PPS, at 412-529- 3560.
The statement provided to the Courier said the YPBC is just another way student-voice is informing decision-making throughout the District. To date, according to the release, the District has taken multiple steps to raise student voice, including: Appointing a Project Manager for Student Voice; Launching the district-wide Superintendent Student Advisory Council; Seeking student input on the District Code of Conduct, leading to the development of new codes that differentiate between PreK-5 and 6-12 age groups; Sponsoring student representatives to attend the 4th Annual Strength in Voices Conference held in Reno, Nevada this spring; and supporting the student-driven “Month of Non-violence,” a collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Port Authority, Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, and Juvenile Probation.
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