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Education

Commission set to vote on new Pittsburgh Public Schools district map

Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Education Oakland (4).jpg
Ashton Jones
/
90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Public Schools redistricting commission has kept many school board districts largely unchanged in its latest draft.

Pittsburgh Public Schools redraw school board maps after every census. The current redistricting commission has faced multiple challenges in creating a map that maintains Black majority school districts as the city’s Black population shrinks.

The commission presented four working versions of the map at public meetings over the last three months. Commission members said the latest draft minimizes the number of neighborhoods that would be split up into different districts.

The latest map looks similar to the current map. Walter Lewis, the commission chair, said they wanted to limit impacts on voters and incumbent board members.

“We heard a lot from people who just said, ‘Hey, I like my current representative. I like the communities I’m connected with. I’d love to stay in my district,’” he said at a public hearing on Monday.

The map does not include any majority Black districts — a longtime goal for the reapportionment commission.

Instead, it would create three “opportunity districts” that each include a Black population greater than 40%.

Lewis said those districts could be the key to ensuring Black people still have a fair say in who represents them on the board, even as the city’s Black population has declined and dispersed across the region.

“It seems to us that the opportunity district is a great sort of potential balance where there’s still enough of a concentrated population of Black voters in the same districts that they’ve historically been in,” he said.

The commission will vote on the map at a public Zoom meeting on Jan. 10.