Wow! We won $100,000 to improve our schoolyards!

Have you heard the exciting news?! West Portal Elementary just won $100,000 to improve our schoolyards! Wow!!!

These funds come from the City of San Francisco, and are granted through participatory budgeting, which is a democratic process in which members of a community vote on how public funds are spent. In San Francisco, only District 7 holds a Participatory Budgeting vote, and this year Supervisor Norman Yee set aside $500,000 for the top community-voted projects within District 7.

West Portal Elementary submitted two projects, and both qualified for the ballot!! (See below for ballot details.)

We had a 2-week voting period in April, and the final results were astounding! We won in both of our categories with a record number of votes totaling over 1,900.

We’d like to thank everyone who worked to help our school win these funds. Parents Club volunteers did the following (and much more):

·      Attended community meetings and a press conference

·      Consulted with Mr. Lucey

·      Drafted the initial application

·      Created and launched a Get Out the Vote campaign (including amazing graphic design work by Form&Fiction), which involved hosting pop-up voting booths, canvassing neighborhoods, and helping to spread the word to friends, family, and neighbors in District 7

Thanks also to the teachers and students who talked about democracy and the voting process in their classrooms. Great job leveraging this process to create a real-life civics lesson for our students!

Many thanks to the District 7 residents who supported us by voting for our projects. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Extra big thank you’s to:

·      Principal Lucey, for applying for these funds after our community expressed a need for tables and shade at lunch and recess.

·      The San Francisco Shared Schoolyards Project, for opening our schoolyards to the greater community to enjoy on the weekends. We’ll all benefit from these improved yard spaces.

·      Supervisor Norman Yee, for his leadership in administering the Participatory Budgeting process. We are fortunate that our location in District 7 gave us the opportunity to apply for these funds and allowed our school community to come together to build support for our projects.

The projects are scheduled to be completed within a year. Stay tuned for updates!

West Portal’s winning ballots:

Renewed Area Celebrating West Portal's Past, Present, and Future - $75,000

West Portal Elementary seeks to revitalize its largest schoolyard to become part of a recreation complex with adjacent West Portal Park. Improvements include a mural celebrating West Portal’s history, resurfacing the yard with safety surface, painted running track and ball courts, new basketball goals, seating, and sun shades.

West Portal Elementary Neighborhood Green Picnic Pavilion and Play Yard - $25,000

West Portal Elementary would like to "green" the asphalt lunch yard with 12 picnic tables, 2 sun shade canopies, and artificial grass turf to cover the yard, and planting of additional trees and shrubs.  This picnic pavilion and play area will greatly improve the lunch experience for almost 600 students, who currently sit on the asphalt ground to eat lunch, and provide a welcoming space for the greater community to enjoy on weekends, when our yards are open through the San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project. Our goals for the asphalt lunch yard would build on the adjacent garden’s transformative success.