WILKINSBURG (KDKA) — The Wilkinsburg School Board voted Tuesday night to approve a plan that will send its students to Westinghouse Academy in the Pittsburgh Public School District.

Education officials first announced the cross-district partnership last month.

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Wilkinsburg school officials took their final vote on the proposal Tuesday night.

It has been a tough question facing the troubled Wilkinsburg School District.

Should the School Board of Directors approve a cross-district partnership that would send more than 200 Wilkinsburg Middle and High School students to Pittsburgh Westinghouse Academy?

The merger idea has sparked controversy from the beginning with many residents at a school board meeting Tuesday evening expressing concerns for student safety at Westinghouse.

One man asked, “What security arrangements have been made? We’ve had trouble between Homewood students and Wilkinsburg students in the past.”

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But the school board approved the partnership with Pittsburgh Public Schools unanimously. The vote was 9 to 0.

One of the members who voted for the merger was Michael Johnson. His son will go to Westinghouse next year. He visited the school recently.

Johnson admitted it was a difficult vote for him. He said that “safety for all the students, including his son, was a top priority.”

Ed Donovan, the Wilkinsburg School Board president, says committees will be formed involving police, school officials and students to focus on the safety question.

Donovan told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “Our district simply became too small to give [Wilkinsburg] students what they deserve.”

The Pittsburgh School Board is expected to vote on the partnership Wednesday.

If approved, the plan will go into effect next school year.

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