Wednesday, April 1, 2009

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Kathy Fine said...

I am posting this for Tom Hoffman.

Quick Update On The Healthy School Bus Campaign

Because of the memorial services for the Pittsburgh Police Officers killed in the line of duty, our meeting with the School District was postponed until next Wednesday at 1:00. We will update you on that meeting next week.

We also want to update you on progress we’re making identifying potential projects that would qualify under the DERA (Diesel Emission Reduction Act) portion of the stimulus package. Nationally, there is $300 million available to reduce toxic diesel emissions as well as increase green jobs. EPA Region III (of which Pittsburgh is a part) is expected to receive $16 million of those funds. The Allegheny County Partnership to Reduce Diesel Pollution, led by Clean Water Action and the Group Against Smog and Pollution, is working closely with the Allegheny County Health Department to submit grant proposals for funds to replace, repower, rebuild, and/or retrofit diesel vehicles from such diverse sectors as construction, buses, municipal vehicles, locomotives, and marine vessels. We’ll keep you posted.
If you haven't done so already, don't forget to visit the Clean Water website and sign the online petition to support healthy school buses. (
For more information on this campaign, please contact

Annette Werner said...

The Board will be voting on new magnet lottery procedures each week, including extra chances in the lottery (weights) for receiving a free and reduced price lunch and for living in the area where the school is located. There did not seem to be any particular problem with the magnet lottery this past year- the IB school in particular was noted to have drawn a class that very closely mirrored the district- and so it is not clear why this extra weight is being added.

More important, the extra weight for a free/reduced lunch reveals something about the magnet programs which are most successful and require a lottery. Rather than being magnets in the traditional sense of drawing students to schools that are in poorer areas and/or disproportionately attended by minority students, the programs that fill up and need to use the admissions lottery- sci tech, engineering (at Allderdice), computer science (at Brashear), CAPA- are NOT in poorer areas. These programs are in schools that already have the highest proportion of students not receiving a free/reduced price lunch.

What we do not have are magnets successful enough to draw a diverse student body to schools like Westinghouse. The sci tech school, if it had been placed at Westinghouse, might have been that magnet, or the IB school. (We were also hearing last year that the IB committee favored Westinghouse for that program, but the report from that committee indicated that transportation was a problem.)

Today's PG noted that a sports magnet may be placed at Westinghouse If a goal is a diverse student body, it would not seem best to weight a future Westinghouse sports magnet lottery in favor of students receiving a free/reduced price lunch or students from the area where the school is located.