Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Time for Radical Change at Penn State

Have you ever wonder why the appropriations for Pennsylvania's state-related universities are in supplemental appropriation bills rather than in the general appropriations bill? Well, if you have here's your answer. The Pennsylvania Constitution bars the appropriations for these entities from inclusion in the regular appropriations bill.
Article III. Section 11 The general appropriation bill shall embrace nothing but appropriations for the executive, legislative and judicial departments of the Commonwealth, for the public debt and for public schools. All other appropriations shall be made by separate bills, each embracing but one subject.
As we contemplate yet another year of meager state appropriations for Penn State and the the other state-related universities (Warning:huge pdf.), perhaps it is time to consider a complete overhaul of the governance of these institutions to bring them under executive branch so that their funding may be placed in the general appropriations bill.

This move would appear to give these schools a constitutional guarantee of adequate funding.
Article III. Section 14. The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the Commonwealth.
Is Penn State's corporate dominated board of trustees willing to give up its control of the University for the good of the people of the Commonwealth and for the greater good of the Penn State academic community? Are they will to even entertain any reduction in their authority which might better serve the citizens of Pennsylvania?

The time has now arrived to have this debate on the restructuring of higher education in the Commonwealth.

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