Community Colleges Applaud Senate Republican Budget
HARRISBURG, Pa., May 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Senate-approved $27.7 million budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 will restore crucial operating funds to Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges to help meet increased student and employer demands, officials said today.
The Senate budget restores operating funds to community colleges to prior year levels, returning the effective 5 percent cut Governor Corbett proposed in February.
"The restoration of funding to Pennsylvania's community colleges in the Senate Republicans' budget recognizes the crucial role our institutions fill in training our skilled workforce and keeping higher education within reach," said Alex Johnson, president of the Community College of Allegheny County and the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. "We encourage the legislature to also allocate new capital dollars for 2012–2013 to provide for the maintenance and improvements the commonwealth's community colleges so desperately need."
Collectively, the 14 community colleges have a list of shovel-ready projects that exceed $100 million. The projects range from modernizing science labs to creating new learning environments for students to be trained in industries like Marcellus Shale, advanced manufacturing, energy and healthcare. These types of jobs are in emerging industries where businesses are looking to hire highly-skilled and trained employees.
"It's an encouraging development that the members of the Senate were able to work together and make higher education a priority in this budget," said Diane Bosak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges. "Our institutions are in more demand than ever; from students, employers and state and federal lawmakers. Community colleges can serve as a key partner with the state and private sector to train the workforce, but we need adequate resources to meet this challenge."
Bosak noted that under the budget proposals, no new capital projects on community college campuses will be able to move forward.
Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges request $10 million in capital funding for 2012-2013. The request is similar in project value to the state's commitment of capital funding to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the state-related universities.
Pennsylvania's 14 community colleges serve students from every county of the state. The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges is a volunteer membership association for Pennsylvania's community colleges. Its members include the college presidents, members of colleges' boards of trustees and key college administrators. The Commission represents the interests and advocates the collective needs of the community colleges to federal and state policymakers. For more information please visit www.pacommunitycolleges.org.
Jamie Yates, Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges
SOURCE Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges