Through a program called “Voces Con Poder,” Central Falls School District designated $100,000 in federal relief funds toward a participatory budgeting process. Through the process, the district requested ideas from the community, had community “delegates curate and evaluate the submitted ideas, and then put those ideas to a vote by students and parents. Delegates received stipends and meals for their participation, and the district provided Spanish interpreters at every meeting. The district originally piloted this program in 2021 with $10,000 in federal money and scaled it up after the first year’s success.
We are spotlighting this because of the innovative way in which the district encouraged family engagement and helped ensure that federal relief funds are being used to meet the needs of the communities they are meant to reach. It is also noteworthy that the district chose to scale the program up after a successful first year.