The students of P.S. 124 are enjoying their newly improved bathrooms, thanks to the support of vocal residents and funding from a local politician.
Members of the community who were involved in Councilmember Brad Lander’s Participatory Budgeting initiative for 2011-2012 had the chance to vote for which projects deserved funding, and the bathrooms of P.S. 124 that were in desperate need of repair won by a landslide.
“Students must have schools that show respect for their learning and their basic human needs,” said P.S. 124 Principal Annabelle Martinez.
The long struggle for decent restrooms for the children was paid off last year when the school was granted the needed $150,000, enough for a new facility designed by the New York City School Construction Authority.
“For this project to be funded, it needed to be considered a priority by the people in this district, people with no connection to the school, or maybe even any public school, for that matter,” said Rachel Fine, facilitator for the Participatory Budgeting Education Committee who advocated for the school. “I know I speak on behalf of every member of our committee when I say that we are thrilled to have been part of a team – and a community – that helped make this project possible.”
P.S. 124’s bathrooms are the first project of many to be implemented through the Participatory Budgeting initiative. Only three City Council districts introduced the system this year, and because of its success, it will be continued in eight other districts.
“This isn’t just a great day for the kids at P.S. 124, who now have a dignified place to go to the bathroom,” said Lander. “It is also a great day for New Yorkers who want more of a say in government decision-making. We are showing that if you trust people to decide where some of their tax dollars go, they will choose wisely, and make New York a better place to live.”