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Last month, final approval of Pa. State Senate Bill 1039 reduced appropriations for the School of Veterinary Medicine by nearly 13 percent from the originally approved budget.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell exercised a line item veto and reduced the Vet School appropriation from $34,419,000 to $30 million.

The original bill approved by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on Dec. 17 also reduced appropriations to the Penn Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology by 50 percent, according to the Penn Almanac.

The old bill would have provided $113,000 to the Museum.

The state appropriation to the Vet School is just under a third of all funds received, a significant portion of the School’s budget, Vet School Chief Financial Officer Maureen Harrigan wrote in an e-mail.

Over the past two years, the funds appropriated to the Vet School have been reduced by 30 percent, Harrigan explained.

The Vet School, which is the only school of veterinary medicine in Pennsylvania, has historically received state funding.

While the state has been making overall budget cuts, the Vet School has continued to receive funding because veterinary medicine is “critical to the commonwealth’s agricultural industry and economy,” Vice President for Government and Community Affairs Jeffrey Cooper said.

The Vet School has been downsizing in preparation for budget cuts.

“We have been planning for reduced funding for some time,” Harrigan wrote. “The amount of the reduction, however, has changed over time.”

Appropriations for state-related universities, on the other hand, were not reduced because the state must maintain public universities in order to receive nearly two billion dollars in federal stimulus funds.

Provost Vincent Price said the reduced budget forces the University administration to “make difficult choices” and to “think very deeply about [our] highest priorities.”

However, he emphasized that Penn is in a “good position to confront [the reduced budget] because [the Vet School] has been very thoughtful about it.”

Price also stressed that the fiscal cutbacks are not unique to Penn.

All other state-aided colleges and universities — those that receive funding but are not considered public — experienced 89-percent reductions below last year’s appropriated funding level, according to the Almanac.

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