MC Math Class Helps City Council

by, C. GARRETT KEIDEL, Sports Editor

On May 9, 2019, Manhattan College will welcome members of the New York City Council to campus as they prepare to listen to data analytic presentations done by current students. The students have prepared presentations regarding data collected from previous years’ participatory budgeting process with hopes that the work they’ve done gives insight to the council members as to what the data might mean.  

Participatory budgeting is defined by the city council as, “year long decision-making public meetings to decide how to spend part of a public budget. Participatory Budgeting NYC (PBNYC) lets the community discuss local needs and develop proposals to meet these needs. Decisions are made through a public vote, where residents choose which proposals to fund.” Not all districts are required to participate in this form of budget allocation, but the appeal for those that do comes from the way that it allows the community to directly voice their opinions on what they’d like to see in their neighborhoods.

Senior math major, Anthony DePinho is a student in the MATH 492 class and was primarily tasked with assessing the data from post voting questionnaires collected by the city council.

“Our group is looking at data on demographic data filled out on exit surveys. Another group was looking at vote totals and vote counts, analyzing what was winning and not winning. The other groups were looking at proposal development and idea maps.”

Ira Gerhardt, Ph.D, is teaching the course this semester and elaborated on what the course aims to teach students.

“MATH 492 is in its fourth semester…it has always been intended to be a math in the real world course, giving students the opportunity to apply whatever the math topic that was relevant that semester to a real world set of data, work with a real client, present that informations ot the client and at the day be able to say they were a consultant for that client and provided them with value added information.”

Participatory budgeting is important to the city council because of its efforts to get direct input from the community itself. It’s an effort to allocate a part of the discretionary budget to ideas and proposals being brought up by the communities themselves, and allows them to then vote on ideas thats are proposed and approved for receiving possible funding. Optional exit surveys are then given out after those that choose to, vote on the ideas themselves to collect voter demographic data.

DePinho hopes that his work in the project gives the city council valuable information that can be used in the future.

“Obviously we are trying to come up with some meaningful and significant results for the city council. My group is focusing on the exit surveys and in our working with the data and surveys there are a lot of things that we have found that could be useful for them later on. The goal is for our groups to spend a lot of time with the data and see if we can come up with something useful for them to be able to take away and better the way that they are able to do things in the future.”