March 15, 2012 -- In response to today’s release of the Montgomery County Executive’s fiscal year 2013 recommended operating budget, Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, president of Montgomery College, issued the following statement:
“Montgomery College is grateful to the Montgomery County Executive for his support of the College’s operating budget for fiscal year 2013. His recommendation clearly demonstrates the value he places on educating the county’s future workforce. In funding the College’s operating budget, he ensures more students will be able to access post-secondary education and succeed in today’s knowledge-based economy.
The County Executive knows firsthand the power of education to change lives. The Board and I thank him for his support of our efforts to empower all of our students with the opportunity to make better lives for themselves and their families.
Our request for level county funding—$94.4 million for the operating budget in the coming year—recognized the county’s still challenging fiscal situation, while ensuring the College maintains quality, accessible education for students.
Using prudent fiscal management, the College has managed cuts in state aid and a $12 million decline in county funding over the past two years, while also accommodating growing enrollment in credit courses. Nearly 27,000 credit students enrolled last fall, and Montgomery College now has the largest undergraduate student body in the state of Maryland.
The Board of Trustees and I are grateful for the shared sacrifice among our students and employees during these challenging economic times. Tuition and fees now account for 40 percent of our budget funding—an increase from 36 percent just two years ago. Our request includes a modest tuition increase: $2 per credit hour for students who reside in the county or recently graduated from Montgomery County Public Schools, $4 per credit hour for Maryland students, and $6 for out-of-state students. This increase is less than in previous years.
Our employees continue to make personal sacrifices to ensure the College empowers students to change their lives. The College’s FY13 operating budget request does not have any salary or cost of living adjustments for employees. We have not added to our salary base since FY10.
In addition, the College has managed to reduce operating costs by making bold changes to health care benefits for employees. We implemented a new lower cost, consumer-driven plan with a high deductible. We also made adjustments to another plan to contain cost increases. Even with these changes, our employees pay 25 percent of the health care premium costs, which are historically the highest in the county.
As we move forward in the budget process, the College applauds the County Executive and the County Council for their efforts in Annapolis to oppose the shift of the pension costs from the state to the counties. County leaders know that a shift of these costs will imperil the county’s ability to fund the College and other important county services.
On behalf of the 60,000 credit and noncredit students Montgomery College serves, we thank the County Executive for his support of our request, and we are hopeful the Montgomery County Council will fund the College’s budget as proposed by the County Executive.
We look forward to working with the Montgomery County Council over the next few months during its budget deliberations. We remain committed to partnering with the county to continue our efficient use of resources and to create success for our community.”