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Putting Youth in Charge of Public Spending

Solutions Journalism Network

Teenagers and young adults in Boston decide how to spend one million dollars of the city's budget every year. Elsewhere, in Phoenix, high school students have a voice in how their school’s discretionary budget is spent. Sound crazy? In fact, the concept of participatory budgeting (PB) is gaining popularity around the globe.

The idea started in Brazil's Porto Alegre in 1989, part of an experiment to increase community involvement in public resource management. In 2009, Chicago held the first participatory budgeting vote in the United States. Today, participatory budgeting has spread to more than 1,500 cities worldwide.

Having citizens propose and vote on how to spend public money not only increases transparency and accountability, it's also a powerful way to grow skills and interest in civic engagement, particularly among young people. This collection features solutions journalism stories about participatory budgeting initiatives in the United States with youth decision-making at their core. 

Click here for more stories in the Solutions Story Tracker on public finance.

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