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President Issues Budget Message, Vows to Maintain Educational Quality

(The following message was issued Wednesday afternoon by Davie Jane Gilmour, Pennsylvania College of Technology president, after the governor’s budget address for the coming fiscal year.)

Today, Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced his 2009-10 budget projections for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania amid what he called “the worst recession since the Great Depression.”

Acknowledging the importance of higher education, the governor declared that the long-term growth of our economy “is tied to the success of our students.” He expressed a desire to maintain funding at current levels for the state’s colleges.

The actual allocation estimate for Pennsylvania College of Technology is not immediately clear. This year, rather than showing a separate Penn College allocation in the budget, the allocation is part of a $60 million “general assistance” allocation to The Pennsylvania State University. I look forward to discussions with university officials to sort out the new method of allocation.

After a preliminary conversation with university officials, I am confident that, despite what might appear as a zero allocation for the college, the expectation is to fund Penn College at its current level 6 percent less than its original 2008-09 allocation.

We are prepared to build a budget based on the reduced allocation.

These are difficult times for the Commonwealth and for the nation’s economy. It is our responsibility, as a public institution, to be part of the solution.

It will not be easy to make choices that are necessary to bring next year’s budget into line with this reduced state appropriation, but we will do it. We will do it without sacrificing our quality of education.

Political and economic leaders around the globe agree that applying technology in the workforce is a key to future success. As a Penn State affiliate with the special mission of providing applied technology education, we are uniquely positioned to contribute to immediate and long-term economic growth.

America’s greatest strength lies in the potential of its workforce. Penn College must stay strong through this challenge so that we can prepare men and women of all ages and at all levels of education and training to contribute to the growth of our economy.

Cost center administrators will be challenged to examine every expense and consider how each dollar contributes to our core mission. Where we can save without sacrificing our students’ education, we will save.

Human resources are our greatest expense and our greatest asset. We will consider the responsibilities of employees and reposition individuals where appropriate to invest time and talents where they are most crucially needed. As positions are vacated, we may reposition rather than rehire.

We will share resources across departments. We will require everyone to use cost-efficient processes and technologies. By working together, we will achieve savings and get to know ourselves better through ongoing communications.

Our foundation is strong. Our future will be secured by the strength of our commitment to provide “degrees that work” in the 21st century.

We need the support and cooperation of every employee to meet the challenges before us. By working to your full potential and teaming with your colleagues to ensure efficient, effective teaching and service to students, you will be very real part of the nation’s economic recovery.

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