Pittsburgh school election needs higher voter turnout, group says

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A+ Schools, a public education advocacy group, today launched a campaign aimed at increasing voter turnout in the upcoming school board primary election in Pittsburgh.

Four seats are up for election this year: District 2, held by Dara Ware Allen; District 4, held by Bill Isler; District 6, held by school board president Sherry Huzuda; and District 8, held by Mark Brentley Sr.

According to A+ Schools, voter turnout in those districts ranged from 14 percent to 26 percent in 2007. The organization has set a goal of increasing voter turnout by 26 percent or 6,000 voters.

"Our community consistently lists education as a top concern, but each year the turnout rates remain pitifully low. If we expect the Pittsburgh Public Schools to improve performance, we -- the voters -- must show the board we are paying attention and hold them accountable by voting," said Carey Harris, A+ Schools' executive director, in a news release.

In the campaign, volunteers and partner organizations will help get voting pledges. A+ Schools also will conduct a candidate forum and publish a voter guide.

The primary is scheduled for May 17. Candidates must file their petitions by March 8.

Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.

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