Funding for the Green STEM Lab, which features, along with the impressive hydropnics systems, a suite of 30 laptops, digital microscopes and a robot for programming practice, came from Cycle 5 of Participatory Budgeting, when resounding support from parents and community members allocated $250,000 to the school’s STEM goals.
Outlining the role of STEM learning in the journey through high school and into college, Levin told the gathered students about their responsibilities to environmental stewardship. “You’re the future—you’re gonna save the planet,” he said. The young students listened wide-eyed, serious, their short legs swinging from the stools where they sat.
Even if the message was absorbed better by the parents, the Councilmember’s remarks were spot on. All of the middle schools the current students will be applying to will have STEM programs, and many of their potential high schools will as well. Some are funded by Participatory Budgeting, while others receive funds from the Borough President’s office—which allocated $50 million to 150 schools in 2018. That number is a doubling of previous investment, making up about half of the Borough President’s capital budget.