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Focus on PPS board races

| Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Candidates for mayor, Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council were named in the article “It's official: It's a 3-candidate race for Pittsburgh mayor,” but the candidates for the Pittsburgh Public Schools board, which oversees a budget of $594.4 million ($55 million larger than the City of Pittsburgh's), were not.

They are Sylvia Wilson, Sala Udin, James Myers Jr., Terry Kennedy, Ghadah Makoshi, Cynthia Falls, Joseph Conrad Kearfott Burns, Carolyn Klug and Veronica Edwards.

The board makes policy that guides the education of 24,000 students, sets the work rules and pay for over 3,000 teachers and staff, oversees and hires the superintendent and his administration, and sets property and income taxes for city residents. Yet, too often, candidates get scant attention and scrutiny from the media and community. This leads to gaps in voting, with a drop-off of anywhere between 5 percent and 20 percent of voters who go to the polls but make no selection for school board.

A+ Schools wants to change this information gap. Along with coalition partners, we are asking the public to “Vote School Board First.” Starting soon, voters will be able to go to voteschoolboardfirst.org to learn more about the candidates and their role in shaping the future of our region.

We hope the Tribune-Review will dedicate coverage to better understanding the volunteers who are running for school board, and what their plans are for improving Pittsburgh students' quality of education.

James Fogarty

Crawford-Roberts

The writer is executive director of A+ Schools.

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