University leaders from four state-related institutions spent the day in Harrisburg testifying before the Pennsylvania House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
President Theobald was among the four attendees. Others included Lincoln University’s Valerie Harrison, Penn State’s Eric Barron, and Pittsburgh University Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.
After meeting with state representatives for more than three hours in the Majority Caucus room, they made their way over to the North Office Building to meet with state senators.
While the Senate hearings offered many of the same responses from the four school heads, they focused much more on finance than did those that took place in the House. A spreadsheet with the budgetary summary of educational spending was presented.
It was also clear that personal connections to the four universities dictated the talking points. Senators and house members alike tended to focus their questions on Penn State and their troubles with William Ayers’ appearance at a PSU Law School event.
But, when it came down to it, they were there to discuss the budget and how it would effect the education of their constituents.
Many took to the podium worried that the universities were already charging too much for books and programs.
Rep. Marguerite Quinn of PA’s 143rd District said as a parent, she is concerned about her daughter’s financial future because of increasing taxes in the budget attached to the appropriations.
Additionally, other representatives brought up the issues of standardized tests and online education.
All of the representatives that talked to Temple Update reiterated that the budget is not yet final and negotiations need to be completed before the deadline on July 1st. Said Rep. Mike Vereb of PA’s 150th District in Montgomery County, “at the end of the day we need to filter out where we can get that money and make sure we appropriately dispense it to the universities and the many other needs of our budget.”