Montgomery College to ask county for more funding in deficit year -- Gazette.Net







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Montgomery College students will pay the same for classes next year, and staff will get a raise if county officials approve a budget proposal the college is sending over this week.

The college’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a $229.53 million preliminary budget Friday for 2013-2014, a 5.3 percent increase from this budget year.

The proposal will go to Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and the County Council by the end of this week, said Elizabeth Homan, the college’s director of communications.

A blanket approval by the county might be unlikely, though, as County Council staff has said even keeping the college’s budget flat would put stress on the county’s budget.

The increase in funding would mostly pay for a base salary increase for all employees as well as costs associated with a 1 percent enrollment increase, said Cathy Jones, the college’s senior vice president for administrative and fiscal services.

Employee salaries would be boosted by 2.25 percent, Homan said. This would be the first base raise for employees in three or four years.

The college’s proposal outlines that $87.3 million will come from tuition and fees, $101.9 million from the county, $30.5 million from the state and $9.8 million from other sources.

The proposal asks the county to increase funding by $7.14 million, or by about 7.5 percent, and to supply 44.4 percent of the college’s total budget. This year, the county provided 43.4 percent.

Maryland requires the county’s contribution to the college be at least maintained at the same level from year to year. Unlike the state law for public schools funding, though, it doesn’t require funding to be adjusted for enrollment growth.

The request comes when the county is projecting a $135 million budget shortfall. If the college and Montgomery County Public Schools are just maintained at the required levels, remaining county agencies would fall about 5 percent short of funding, according to a December report.

Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard has said she is not sure if the county would approve the request.

County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring, the council Education Committee chairwoman, said Monday she has not met with the college about the budget, adding that the college has “no room” to ask for an increase.

Staff Writer Kate S. Alexander contributed to this report.