College Contributes $100,000 to City of Williamsport
The Board of Directors of Pennsylvania College of Technology today voted to make a voluntary contribution of $100,000 to the City of Williamsport in 2005-06.
This contribution will be considered a gift from college funds and will be paid in 10 monthly installments of $10,000, beginning in August.
Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour said she requested the board's approval to make the gift in recognition of the city's current financial situation. She said the action is in lieu of an existing agreement with the city, which will be discontinued, and comes as a result of formal and informal conversations with Williamsport Mayor Mary B. Wolf. "We want to work together to move the city forward and to focus our collective efforts on revitalizing the local economy and securing the safety of our neighborhoods," Gilmour said. "It is in all of our best interests to see to it that the city thrives."
Discontinuing the previous agreement in favor of this more generous gift for the coming year seemed the more direct way to help achieve immediate results for the city, she added.
"There is a risk and a reward involved," Gilmour suggested. "Our previous attempts to implement long-term agreements have not been particularly successful, so we felt it made better sense to simply consider what we can afford to contribute now, and to voluntarily give those dollars over the course of the coming year." Wolf, who attended the meeting, said: "Pennsylvania College of Technology is a key economic-development partner in our community. The outstanding quality of education the college provides to students from all areas of the country, and the faculty and staff who deliver the programs and services, strengthens Williamsport and the region. This generous contribution is a testament to Penn College's commitment to the city. Dr. Gilmour and the board of directors are to be commended for their leadership." Penn College does not have an approved budget for the coming fiscal year, which begins July 1, but will include the donation in the budget request to be presented to the board next month. The president said she anticipates a "lean budget year" − with no projected increase in the college's state appropriation − but still feels this donation is important.
"We will make sacrifices in order to secure the $100,000, but we will do so without disadvantaging any Penn College student," Gilmour explained. "We will reduce our regional marketing expenses and reduce our financial support for other community projects throughout the year. We have to be less generous in other areas to make this gift possible."
In addition to the $100,000 gift, Penn College will continue to offer $15,000 worth of tuition credits for city employees − $7,500 for credit classes and $7,500 for noncredit classes −in the coming year.
"We believe in education," Gilmour said. "A better-educated government workforce is in everyone's best interest."
Wolf said city employees have taken advantage of the tuition credits in the past, and a number of employees are planning to take courses, such as those related to computer information technology, in the near future.
"City employees welcome the opportunity to participate in the tuition remission program. While course preferences are in the information technology field, city employees have achieved additional credentials to help them be more effective public servants," she added. Penn College will not purchase a police patrol car for the city in the coming year. But city and Penn College police will continue to work together on issues of public safety.
"We are looking forward to a new era of mutual respect and consideration as a result of this bold step," Gilmour said. "We?ve heard the city's cry for help, and we are voluntarily responding."
The president said she anticipates more cooperation between city and college officials on issues regarding safety and security, student housing in the community, and economic revitalization.
"We need to lead the way, to encourage and inspire growth and prosperity in Williamsport," Gilmour said.