Pennsylvania’s government has restored the funding to Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine that was initially intended to be cut from the budget.
On July 2, Governor Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 1126 for the 2013 fiscal year — which began on July 1, 2012 — providing $28,137,000 in funding for the Vet School.
In February, Corbett proposed slashes to the Pennsylvania budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which would have reduced Vet School funding to $26.5 million — down five percent from the past year’s initial budget, which was $27.9 million prior to a statewide funding freeze in December 2011.
According to a statement by Office of Government and Community Affairs Vice President Jeff Cooper, the appropriation was “in recognition of Penn Vet’s contribution to agriculture in the Commonwealth.” The Vet School, which used to be classified under the Department of Education last year, now receives its funding from the Department of Agriculture.
“I am thrilled that Governor Corbett and the state legislature have recognized the impact Penn Vet has on the state’s agriculture industry,” said Vet School Dean Joan C. Hendricks.
The OGCA was a main advocate on the Vet School’s behalf, lobbying the state government to restore the funding. OGCA Director Dawn Maglicco Deitch said that after hearing about the restoration, “naturally we were pleased that the University’s goals were achieved.”
Deitch explained that the bill does not include additional provisions to the Vet School, but rather represents a reversal of the Pennsylvania government’s decision to cut Vet School subsidies.
Top Colleges Educational Consultant Steven Goodman, a 1989 Graduate School of Education alumnus, believes that the implications of the decision, particularly for Vet School research, are significant since research would have suffered the most from the initially proposed budget cuts.
Hendricks indicated the multiple recent changes in budget allocation will cause the Vet School to be wary of using the newly provided money until it is clear the funding will not be cut again.
“We have planned our budgets to absorb the five percent cut, so we will likely hold funds against possible future reductions and may make tentative plans to benefit students if circumstances permit,” she said.
The bill also restores previous funding levels to the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and Penn State, Pitt, Temple and Lincoln universities, which faced budget cuts of 30 percent.