5 Reasons You Should Vote School Board First!
On May 21, in Pittsburgh and around the Commonwealth, voters will have a chance to select volunteers to serve on their local school boards. Here are 5 reasons why the first vote you cast should be for a school board representative when you get to the polls:
1. A high quality public education is a cornerstone of a functioning democracy. Ulysses S. Grant, in his 1875 State of the Union Address wrote: “We are a republic whereof one [person] is as good as another before the law. Under such a form of government it is of the greatest importance that all should be possessed of education and intelligence enough to cast a vote with a right understanding of its meaning.”
2. Gaps in opportunities for Pittsburgh children based on race persist. An Allderdice student has access to over 3 times as many AP courses in their school as a child going to Perry High School. A black student was five times more likely to be suspended last year than a white student in Pittsburgh even as suspensions overall came down. And gaps in student achievement based on what we know from test scores persist, with white students being two to three times more likely to meet grade level standards in English and Math than black students. If we want equity in schools, we have to vote for it.
3. Opportunities to thrive in our current society and economy require more education. According to the Inflection Point Study from the Allegheny Conference, nearly 80,000 good paying jobs in our region will go unfilled in this decade, in part because students and adults do not have the skills to meet job requirements. School board members can help connect students to the opportunities that exist, and help them explore their options.
4. Only one in five registered voters participate in school board elections. If we want better accountability, we have to participate. An analysis of past year school board elections in Pittsburgh shows that only 20% of the electorate ends up voting for school board. Take a moment to go to the portion of the ballot (typically on the second page or third page of candidates) to vote for school board first!
5. Schools spend most of your tax dollars. The largest portion of property taxes and the largest line item in the state budget fund education. In Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Public Schools spends $70 million more than the City of Pittsburgh with a general operating fund budget of $652.5 million in 2019, ranking it 7th in the state with a per-pupil funding rate of over $22,000.
So get out there and vote. Our kids are counting on us to give them the best chance for a greater future. Let’s be worthy of them and do our duty tomorrow at the polls by voting school board first!
Kids Can't Vote, But You Can...
Being a School Board member is one of the most important elected positions in Pittsburgh. School Board members in Pittsburgh are responsible for enacting policies that govern the district as well as enacting a budget that is larger than the city’s operating budget. On May 21, 2019 voters will vote in the primary elections for Districts 2, 4, 6 and 8. You can help make sure voters are informed about the upcoming School Board elections by signing up to volunteer today and talking with your friends and neighbors.
Pittsburgh Public Schools’ budget is $643.7 million this year, larger than the city of Pittsburgh’s operating budget
Only 1 in 5 registered voters casts votes for school board
School board members are elected volunteers who set property tax rates, negotiate the work rules and pay for all school staff, and hire key school administrators. They play a vital role in our community.
Vote School Board First!
Click here to find out if you live in District 2, 4, 6 or 8.
The deadline to register to vote is April 22, 2019 - Register to Vote Here!
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PITTSBURGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS at a Glance
Total Enrollment: 23,532
2019 General Fund Budget: $643.74 million
African American Students: 53%
White Students: 32%
Multi-Ethnic Students: 8%
Asian Students: 4%
Hispanic Students: 3%