Pittsburgh school voting districts about to be reapportioned
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The Pittsburgh School Reapportionment Commission is planning to vote next week on a final plan for election boundaries for the city school board.
The commission will receive additional public comment at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pittsburgh Weil PreK-5 in the Hill District.
The vote is planned for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the John P. Robin Civic Building, Downtown. No other agencies vote on the plan.
At this point, the seven-member commission is working to ensure that three of the nine districts are predominantly black, that no two current board members end up in the same district and that districts are compact and contiguous.
Historically, the residents of Districts 1, 3 and 8 have been majority black. Those three districts would each be between 53.1 percent and 55.6 percent black in the plans under consideration. The next highest percentage of black residents is 31.3 percent in District 9.
Two maps are under consideration, but there is not a final choice yet. A map with additional changes also could be developed.
One the remaining issues is whether the Highland Park neighborhood will be split up. Highland Park is in District 2, represented by Regina Holley.
The outcome will affect not only District 2 but also District 1, now represented by Sharene Shealey, who in the plan splitting Highland Park picks up the area around the park itself and part of the Highland Avenue corridor.
In the plan where Highland Park is not split, District 1 would have to add at least one more section of Point Breeze.
Squirrel Hill attorney Wayne Gerhold, co-chair of the commission, said he favors keeping Highland Park together because he thinks splitting it would be harmful to the neighborhood.
"They're a pretty solid neighborhood, and they have always had a school board representative for the entire neighborhood," he said.
Commission co-chair Shawn Carter, chief of staff for city Councilman Ricky Burgess, said splitting Highland Park makes the districts more evenly balanced in population.
- 2012 Draft A4 Boundaries2012 Draft A4 Boundaries
- Proposal A4 - 2012 Pgh. Public School District Re-Apportionment
- 2012 Draft A5 Boundaries
- Proposal A5 - 2012 Pgh. Public School District Re-Apportionment
- 2002 School Board Boundaries
In the plan in which Highland Park is split, the difference between the population of the largest and smallest districts is 8.5 percent, the same as for City Council.
In the plan in which Highland Park stays together, the variance is 10.8 percent.
The new boundaries will be used in next year's election for the odd-numbered seats.
The reapportionment is the result of the 2010 Census in which the total population of the city dropped to 309,107 from 337,380 in 2000, a decline of 28,273 residents.
That meant that some of the election districts had too many residents and others had too few.
Every district has some changes, primarily along the edges.
In addition to Districts 1 and 2, here are some of the other proposed changes:
• District 3, represented by Thomas Sumpter: Additional portions of the Hill District, including part of Crawford-Roberts and the Middle Hill, which now are in District 8, would be moved to this district. A portion of Shadyside and North Oakland, now in District 4, also would be added.
• District 4, represented by Bill Isler: Part of Point Breeze north of Penn Avenue, now in District 1, would be added to this district. Part of Squirrel Hill South would be moved to District 5.
• District 5, represented by Theresa Colaizzi: South Side flats would be moved into District 7. A part of Squirrel Hill South now in District 4 would be added.
• District 6, represented by Sherry Hazuda: Additions would include Bon Air, which was in District 7 and Duquesne Heights from District 9. Portions of Westwood and Oakwood would be moved to District 9.
• District 7, Jean Fink: South Side flats would be added from District 5. Bon Air would move to District 6.
• District 8, Mark Brentley Sr.: Parts of the Hill District -- including parts of Crawford-Roberts and the Middle Hill -- would go to District 3, although District 8 still would include a portion of Crawford-Roberts. The district would lose part of Fineview and gain parts of Marshall-Shadeland, Knoxville and Allentown.
• District 9, Floyd McCrea: Parts of the South Shore and Duquesne Heights would go to District 6 and part of Marshall-Shadeland would go to District 8.
The two maps and a map of existing districts can be found at www.post-gazette.com.
First Published October 27, 2012 12:00 am