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AASD to drop three programs

The Altoona Area School Board voted Monday to discontinue three Career and Technical Education programs based on their financial sustainability.

Child care, accounting and bookkeeping, and administrative office assistant and secretarial service will no longer be eligible for CTE accreditation, which is granted through the state Department of Education.

Assistant Superintendent Brad Hatch said the district will continue to have the same courses available to students in those fields, but without the state accreditation. However, he said the administration is pursuing alternative industry-standard national accreditation for students already in those programs.

Board member David Francis initially voiced concern about ending the CTE programs, citing the importance for the availability of an industry certification.

Hatch said that although more students were taking courses in these areas, fewer were getting sufficient hours required by the state to be considered “completers.” Because of this, he said state reimbursement for the district dropped by about $25,000.

“Right now, there are less than 20 (students) in all three programs,” he said.

Hatch added that the district received a comprehensive CTE audit in the spring and in order to keep the accredited programs, it would have needed to expand course offerings and hire more staff, which would have amounted to “six digits times a couple.”

He said the administration was instead looking to devote resources to elected offerings in other fields, including pre-engineering and computer programming.

In other business, Superintendent Dr. Charles Prijatelj said the A building is in the process of completion. The district has an occupancy permit and the building is being furnished. He said the targeted finishing date for the B building is Oct. 9.

Mirror Staff Writer Dom Cuzzolina is at 946-7428.

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