City of Bloomington’s Inaugural Youth Participatory Budgeting Initiative Welcomes Teen Voters October 22-28

(BLOOMINGTON) – Starting October 22, community members in grades 7 through 12 will be invited to cast their votes for two project proposals among those generated by their peers through the City’s inaugural Youth Participatory Budgeting (YPB) process. 

The voting stage, which continues through October 28, is the next step in a yearlong sequence during which young people in Bloomington have been deciding how to spend $15,000 dedicated to this initiative within the City budget. 

Designed to increase youth engagement in the community and with government, the City’s YPB initiative was approved in the fall of 2018 for the 2019 budget.  Underway since early 2019, the democratic process has been student-led, from writing the rules and developing a timeline to brainstorming ideas and developing proposals.  During the voting period, students from across the community are encouraged to vote on five proposals that the 11 student members of the steering committee and 16 student delegates refined from the 80 ideas they collected from their peers. Ideas were submitted in the areas of Arts/Culture, Education, Environment, Recreation, and Social Concerns.

Community members in grades 7-12 from the following schools are eligible to vote:  The Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship, Bloomington Graduation School, Bloomington High School North, Bloomington High School South, Batchelor Middle School, Jackson Creek Middle School, Tri-North Middle School, The Project School, Harmony School, St. Benedict Classical Catholic School, St. Charles Catholic School, and Lighthouse Christian Academy.  Homeschooled youth in grades 7-12 are also eligible.

Students may vote for their top two proposals via online ballot at during the week of October 22-28. All votes will be tallied electronically to determine the winning project which will be announced Thursday,  November 7, 2019, at the Commission on the Status of Children and Youth SWAGGER Awards ceremony.  All YPB participants and their families are invited to attend the SWAGGER Awards. 

Implementation of the winning project will begin immediately. The YPB project will renew in 2020 when students across the community will again be invited to participate.   

“From gun control to climate action, Bloomington youth have demonstrated that they are committed to working for the greater good,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton.  “The City is committed to listening to the voices of our young community members and offering them a concrete opportunity to improve our city.” 

YPB is a pilot program championed by Mayor Hamilton and led by the City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Children and Youth, whose mission is to promote connections in the community that empowers, enhance, and nurtures children and youth. To cast your vote or learn more about the YPB process, visit the Youth Participatory Budget webpage. 

For questions or additional information about YPB, Teen Round Table, or the SWAGGER Awards, contact Shatoyia Moss, City of Bloomington Safe and Civil City Director at or by phone at 812-349-3559.