By Gary Masino
Pennsylvania State Senator Andy Dinniman recently wrote a column discussing the difficulties faced by the Commonwealth’s State System of Higher Education. He stated that fiscal and demographic problems in the state will have to be resolved or the system will collapse.
At the Senate Appropriations hearing, the State System Chancellor explained that the system needs $61 million more than the governor budgeted and will certainly have a 3 percent tuition increase and even more if that money is not provided.
He stresses that the PA Constitution requires that the first legislative budget obligation is to fund the k-12 public schools, and that every dollar taken away from k-12 will increase local schools property taxes.
About three years ago, after the first budget cuts, Gov. Corbett appointed an Advisory Commission on Higher Education. A year later, their report was issued. That report lays gathering dust on endless desks in Harrisburg because no one wants to deal with fiscal demographic and change realities.
The report bluntly stated: “In recognition of an overall decline in the rate of growth of post secondary institutions, competition for funding, potential duplication of services and geographically underserved areas, efforts must be focused on the efficient and effective delivery of services and the sustainability of our post secondary system into the future.”