Vote School Board First PGH 2019

Katie Phillips Active + Engaged Residents, Advocacy, Featured Advocacy, General, Opportunities for Success

Vote School Board First PGH, which PUMP is a partner of, officially launched this morning at a press conference at the Kauffman Center in the Hill District.

Vote School Board First PGH is a campaign to educate and engage voters around the Pittsburgh School Board primary elections in School Board Districts 2, 4, 6, and 8, which will take place on May 21, 2019.

Today’s press conference was led by James Fogarty, Executive Director of A+ Schools. He provided important context for why these elections matter:

  • Pittsburgh School Board Members are responsible for enacting policies that govern Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • Pittsburgh School Board Members are responsible for managing a budget that is larger than the City of Pittsburgh’s operating budget
  • Significant gaps in student success remain in Pittsburgh Public Schools

Yet, despite the clear importance of the Pittsburgh School Board, less than 20% of registered voters voted in the last four School Board elections.

Several coalition partners also spoke on the issue.

Esther Bush of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh encouraged us all to commit to learning about School Board candidates and what they stand for, so that we can ensure that they will make Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) more equitable. “Voting school board first,” Bush concluded, “means you are committed to a more just Pittsburgh.”

Emily Neff of Trying Together emphasized the role that high quality early childhood education plays in students’ long-term success. PPS, as the largest Pre-K provider in Pittsburgh, is an important partner in ensuring access to high quality early education. Similarly, Stephanie Lewis of APOST highlighted the important partnership between Pittsburgh Public Schools and after school/out-of-school time providers.

Brian Magee, PUMP’s CEO, affirmed our commitment to creating a region in which 1) everyone has equitable opportunities for success – including in education, and 2) all residents are active + engaged in our communities – including by being educated and engaged voters. As part of this coalition, we are committed “to do everything we possibly can to ensure that when people get to the polls, they vote school board first.”

Vote School Board First’s voter education efforts will include:
  • Registering voters by the April 22, 2019 deadline (register online here!)
  • Circulating questions to all School Board candidates and compiling responses into a voter guide that will be available online as well as mailed to thousands of voters
  • Hosting a candidates’ forum on April 24, 2019
  • Recruiting volunteers to pass out candidate information at polling places on Election Day, May 21, 2019.

Learn more about Vote School Board First here.

The Vote School Board First Coalition includes:
  • A+ Schools
  • All for ALL
  • APOST – Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time
  • ARYSE – Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education
  • B-PEP – Black Political Empowerment Project
  • Lawrenceville United
  • League of Women Voters
  • The Pittsburgh Project
  • The Pittsburgh Promise
  • PUMP
  • The Office of Child Development in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education
  • Pride
  • Repair the World
  • Circles PGH