New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

PB Results for 2016

Nearly 2,000 Upper East Side residents 14 and over turned out in person or online to vote on how to spend $1 million in tax dollars to improve the community as part of “Participatory Budgeting.” Residents were able to vote in the district office 7 days a week as well as at 17 mobile “pop-up” voting locations, by absentee and even online. This is the third year of Participatory Budgeting and the results were:

  • $500,000 – 802 votes – Green Roof at P.S. 290  the Manhattan New School (MNS)
  • $350,000 – 768 votes – Laptop Carts for 10 schools on the Upper East Side P.S. 77, P.S 198, P.S 290, P.S/I.S 217, M. 225, Eleanor Roosevelt, Urban Academy, Vanguard, Manhattan International and Life Sciences serving over 5,000 students.

The $500,000 for P.S. 290 adds to $1 million previously allocated by Council Member Kallos for a green roof at the location, where the project cost is estimated at $2.8 million. This allocation brings the school to the half-way point during Kallos’ third year in office.
This is the second year that STEM investments like laptop carts topped Participatory Budgeting, with a previous win in the first year for $250,000 to be distributed to schools throughout the district. This brings the total investment by Council Member Kallos in “STEM schools” to $2 million.
The third highest vote getter, which exceeded the $1 million for Participatory budgeting was:

  • $500,000 – 751 votes – Green Roof at P.S/I.S. 217

Due to the strong showing of support for Green Roofs two years in a row, Council Member Kallos will allocate the full $500,000 for the Green Roof at P.S./I.S. 217, which combines with his previous allocation of $500,000 and a minimum of $250,000 from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The project will begin scoping. 
“Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) continue to be where residents are voting to invest their tax dollars to prepare our children for the future,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Participatory Budgeting Delegates for leading the process as well as residents 14 and over for voting.”
“I’m delighted that Councilmember Kallos will continue to join in supporting the Green Roof at P.S./I.S. 217," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Urban agriculture is a fresh approach to education and this funding will help sustain that approach."
“Thank you to Ben Kallos for working so closely with our school community to secure the funding needed for us to finally move forward with our dream of a rooftop science center and play space.   I am very excited that our students will have a chance to explore nature and play in the sunshine on the rooftop of their school in the heart of New York City,” saidDoreen Esposito Principal at P.S. 290 Manhattan New School.

"Thank you to all of the supporters from our community and the city for voting for the PS/IS 217 STEM Green Room. This Green Roof will further enhance the learning opportunities for the students and families of PS/IS 217 and the residents of Roosevelt Island," said Mandana Beckman Principal at PS/IS 217. 

"Each year we expand our STEM enrichment programming,” said 217PTA ­President,Olga Shchuchinov. “So this deep support from the city, combined with the Participatory Budget funding, allows us to move forward and design our 21st century teaching hub on the roof."
Council Member Ben Kallos is one of eight Council Members to adopt Participatory Budgeting in 2014, which has since grown to 28 Council Districts allocating nearly $32 million citywide. Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process where Council Members pledge to allocate their discretionary funds however residents 14 and over vote. These funds are capital and can only be used to pay for physical infrastructure projects proposed by community members called “Delegates” such as improvements to schools, parks, libraries, public housing, and other public or community spaces.

About the Winners: 

  • P.S. 290 The Manhattan New School (MNS) originally built in 1903 and relaunched in 1991 has 36 teachers and over 600 students comprised of children from many countries with over 20 different languages are spoken at home. The P.S. 290 PTA mobilized parents to vote by mail, online, and one morning for drop off where over one hundred parents waited in the rain for 5 - 10 minutes to vote.
  • P.S./I.S. 217 on Roosevelt Island serves Pre-k through eighth grade. The school wanted additional outdoor space and an educational green roof for their 543 students, so for the second year in a row P.S./I.S. 217 placed a green roof project on the ballot. Roosevelt Island is a tight-knit and highly-engaged community, so they mobilized together and succeeded in being one of the top vote getters. The P.S./I.S. 217 PTA, Girl Scouts troops 3001 and 3244, Roosevelt Island Garden Club, Roosevelt Island Parents' Network and Sharon Bermon from the NYPL Roosevelt Island Branch were just a few of the community members who came together to support the students.Principal Mandana Beckman managed to get the vote out and the money in.

Results for Other Projects on the Ballot:
694 - $225,000 - P.S. 290 Bathrooms
553 - $1,000,000 - Parks Greening for John Jay Park
479 - $350,000 - Library Modernization for Eleanor Roosevelt H.S.
466 - $700,000 - Lexington Houses East & West Playground
427 - $500,000 - Lexington Houses Security Upgrade
408 - $600,000 - Webster Library HVAC Improvements
389 - $350,000 - HVAC for P.S.198 and P.S.77
344 - $500,000 - Center at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Entrance
292 - $600,000 - 67th Street Library HVAC Improvements
282 - $250,000 - Renovate Auditorium for Eleanor Roosevelt H.S.
104 - $85,000 - Sound System at Julia Richman JREC Auditorium

Learn more about Participatory Budgeting at

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