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State Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-South Fayette, recently introduced legislation to centralize the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors.

“A recent report by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee showed change is needed for the long-term sustainability of the PASSHE,” Ortitay said.

Additionally, the study found internal factors reduce the state system’s ability to respond to challenges. Governance that is reportedly bureaucratic hinder opportunities to change. As defined by the original law creating PASSHE, the roles and responsibilities of the Board of Governors, the Chancellor’s Office, university presidents and Councils of Trustees overlap in some areas. His legislation would remove duplication within the state system schools.

House Bill 2551 would repeal and replace the structure and duties of the PASSHE Board of Governors. Under the bill, the board would:

  • Establish a human resources department of all member institutions.
  • Establish the powers and duties of the member institutions’ Council of Trustees to oversee day-to-day member institution operations.
  • Define the mission of each member institution.
  • Adopt strategic plans for the system and member universities.
  • Submit a budget to the General Assembly for the system and member institutions.
  • Approve and adopt degree programs for member institutions.

The new board would consist of nine individuals appointed by the governor, House speaker, House minority leader, president pro tempore of the Senate and Senate minority leader. The final position would be a faculty member appointed by his or her peers.

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