This chapter examines the structural changes that were put in place in Porto Alegre's municipal system, and especially the development of the critically democratic practices of "Participatory Budgeting" and then the Citizen School, during the 16-year tenure of the Popular Administration. It offers an evaluation of the conditions that allowed the experience of the Citizen School project to take place. The chapter focuses on some of the lessons we can learn about building democratic educational systems. It examines why Porto Alegre's educational system deserves to be studied and what it achieved. The chapter also presents some challenges that the experience is currently facing and finally revisits the Porto Alegre school system six years after the Workers Party left office and addresses both some of what has lasted and what has changed. "Thick" democratic experiences require participation; and participation is not something that can occur from one moment to the other.