New city school and council district boundaries approved

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Despite fears of population shifts necessitating a loss of Black representation, or even a majority Black district, in the Pittsburgh Public Schools reapportionment process, the commission approved a plan last month that maintains three majority Black Districts.

“We did the best job we could balancing the population and maintaining the racial balance given the requirements,” said Reapportionment Committee Chair Sean Carter.

The new boundaries keep Districts 1, 3 and 8, represented by Sharene Shealey, Thom Sumpter and Mark Brentley. Regina Holley’s District 2 boundaries basically keep Highland Park intact, but now include a larger portion of Point Breeze than before.

Pittsburgh City Council’s reapportionment process was relatively calm by comparison. The most obvious change apparent when comparing the current and, now approved, new district borders is the movement of the 22nd Ward on the North Side from R. Daniel Lavelle’s District 6 to Darlene Harris’ District 1.  He also loses sections of the 4th ward to Bruce Kruse’s District 3. In return Lavelle picks up parts of North Side’s 26th and 28th Wards and part of the 5th Ward in Oakland.

The city’s other elected Black representative, District 9 Councilman Rev. Rickey Burgess, gains 4 sections of the 10th and 11th Wards from Theresa Kail-Smith, and part of the 14th Ward from Corey O’Connor in District 5. Though the plan initially would have split the Stanton Heights neighborhood between Burgess and Patrick Dowd’s District 7, the entire neighborhood will now be represented by Dowd.

In sum the entire process only changes 25 of the city’s 402 voting districts.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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