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Monday Education Update: Weekly roundup, CCAC's new technology degree program, budget woes and keystone exam update

| Monday, June 19, 2017, 12:48 p.m.
Michael Swensen | Tribune-Review
Landon Smith, 5, of New Kensington, is handed a custom balloon animal at the Harrison Library during their kickoff event to encourage kids to continue to learn throughout the summer months.

Good morning! In today's education update: CCAC to offer new degree program, school districts struggle to estimate state funding and the state House considers elimination of keystone exams.

I'm TribLIVE reporter Emily Balser, and I'll be at the helm of our daily education update this week. I'm looking forward to bringing you the latest education news each morning.

Questions? Story ideas? Send them to schooltips@tribweb.com . Call me at 724-226-4680 or tweet at me: @emilybalser.

LOCAL

SUMMER READING PROGRAMS : Many libraries and schools offer summer reading programs and study packets in an effort to provide summer activities and prevent children from losing their reading skills over summer break.

NEW CCAC DEGREE OFFERING : Community College of Allegheny County announced that it will offer a new associate degree in data analytics technology. Courses begin this fall.

More than a dozen UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Pennsylvania employees help Whitaker Community Cares (WCC) kick off the construction of a new playground Friday, June 16, at Whitaker Ball Field.

Photo courtesy of UnitedHealthcare

PLAYGROUND CONSTRUCTION: A new playground is in the works to serve Whitaker, Munhall and West Mifflin residents. UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Pennsylvania employees helped Whitaker Community Cares to kick off construction of a new playground Friday at Whitaker Ball Field. The new playground, scheduled to open July 15, will give more than 2,500 Whitaker, Munhall and West Mifflin residents a place to play.

STATE

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER BUDGET : It's the same story, year after year: School districts across the state must adopt budgets for the upcoming school year before knowing how much money they'll receive in state funding. Here's a breakdown of some of the costs districts say put the most pressure on their budgets: charter schools, special education and pensions.

HARRISBURG

IN THE HOUSE: The Education Committee will meet to vote on:

• An update to the alcohol, chemical and tobacco abuse curricula to include opioid abuse prevention education. Read about the bill here .

• Changes in the requirements and documentation for fire and emergency evacuation drills in schools. Read about the bill here . • A way for parents and students to research higher education institutions on the state Department of Education website to compare things such as tuition, graduation rates and average borrowing rate. Read about the bill here .

• Changes to the the way school district's decide layoffs based on seniority. Read about the bill here .

IN THE SENATE: The Education Committee will meet to discuss:

Elimination of Keystone Exams. Read about the bill here .

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION FUNDING: Pennsylvania Department of Education Executive Deputy Secretary David Volkman and Deputy Secretary for the Office of Child Development and Early Learning Suzann Morris called for support of early childhood education funding at an event at the Hansel and Gretel Early Learning Center in Harrisburg Friday.

Volkman and Morris met with Pre-K Counts-eligible parent to discuss Gov. Tom Wolf's proposed $75 million increase in pre-kindergarten, which would allow more than 8,400 additional children to enroll in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program.

Wolf has proposed a $10 million increase to provide subsidies to an additional 1,800 children. The governor also proposed a $9 million increase in evidence-based home visiting services to serve an estimated 1,700 families.

House Bill 218, the proposed Republican budget, calls for a $50 million reduction to the Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance programs, representing a 21 percent and 8 percent cut, respectively.

Read more about how early childhood education — preschool and pre-k — prepares students for success and the challenges local schools are facing here .

FLASH CARDS

A quick look back on some of our education stories from last week to get you ready for the week ahead.

SCHOOL BUDGETS: Budget updates from Freeport , Hempfield , Norwin , Penn-Trafford and Woodland Hills .

TRUMP CUTS WORK STUDY : How the Trump administration's 2018 budget will reduce funding for college work-study programs.

COLLEGE IN HIGH SCHOOL : Pittsburgh Public Schools students get a head start on college at Carlow University.

EXTRA CREDIT

ALCOSAN water academy sign-ups: Students can still sign-up for ALCOSAN's Clean Water Academy, which will be held July 17-21. This program is tailored to students interested in science, technology, engineering and math. They'll spend time at ALCOSAN's onsite laboratory and in classrooms and laboratories at Carlow University for hands-on learning. Students who are interested in attending the academy should contact ALCOSAN's Scholastic Outreach Department at soe@alcosan.org.

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