State Rep. Mike Sturla

Chairman, Democratic Policy Committee

State Rep. Bryan Barbin


Hearing Co-Chair  



HDPC hears about effects of state budget cuts to higher education


JOHNSTOWN, Aug. 4 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today held a public hearing at the Greater Johnstown High School about state budget higher education cuts and dual enrollment, according to Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.


State Rep. Bryan Barbin, D-Cambria, requested the hearing and served as the co-chair. The hearing focused on how the state budget cuts are affecting local communities as the Policy Committee evaluates what needs will be required for next year’s budget.


Sturla said, "Higher education is a critical industry in Pennsylvania that deserves our strong support. The 2011-2012 budget contains unacceptable cuts to higher education that are leading to higher tuition rates, more student debt, and less access to an affordable college education. I applaud Representative Barbin for hosting this hearing to explore these issues further.”


Barbin added, "We need to be creative. I would like to see increased use of our great community colleges and the dual enrollment programs, which provide affordable alternatives in conjunction with our state-owned and state-related four-year institutions. Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college-level courses, saving considerable dollars and time for those students and their families. Affiliation agreements allow community college credits to be transferred to state institutions."


Those testifying at the hearing included: Jack Wagner, Pennsylvania Auditor General; Dr. Walter Asonevich, president, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College; Dr. David Werner, interim president, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Barbara Parkins, superintendent, Greater Johnstown School District; David Lehman, superintendent, Conemaugh Valley School District; Thomas Fleming, superintendent Richland School District; and Gary Bucshen, superintendent, Conemaugh Township School District.


For more information about the Policy Committee and hearing materials, visit