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Seeks to Minimize Damage from County Council Funding Cuts
Arnold, Md. – The Board of Trustees of Anne Arundel Community College approved a FY2012 budget of $102,976,100. Following a 15% cut in county funding from the County Council, or $5,266,300, the Board considered a number of actions, including increasing fees in various programs, reducing services to the community and reducing employee salaries in the form of furloughs.
“The message from the County Council was clear that the college should ‘share the pain’ being felt by the county,” said college president, Dr. Martha Smith. “Believe me, this is extremely painful. It pains me that our students, many of whom are economically stressed to the breaking point now, will have to bear additional costs. It pains me that we would reduce any services to the many students and county residents who depend on us. And it pains me that our dedicated staff and faculty, who have continually achieved more with less during double-digit enrollment growth, must experience additional pain.”
The final budget included a number of significant reductions:
- $555,762 in the CyberSecurity program, acknowledged as a growth area for the region. Dr. Smith explained that the budget cuts will limit the college's ability to meet the burgeoning need for trained workers and that of local employers on the scale that is needed: lab space will not be adequate; and the hiring of instructional staff will be curtailed.
- $255,000 in Instructional Support Services staff. Dr. Smith conveyed that the high-quality programs of the college are a direct result of its outstanding faculty. The loss of faculty slots will impact instructional areas – areas that have already absorbed major increases in student enrollment, making it difficult to meet enrollment demand.
- $220,000 in Student and Administrative Support Services. Impacted areas include technology, including IT, IT security and web services; financial aid support staff to help students maintain the necessary funding to further their education; and staff for the Student Achievement and Success Program, which serves low-income, first generation and minority students.
- $2,247,000 pay and benefit function reductions. The most notable of these reductions were in response to the County Council’s desire to see pay reductions for the college, the Board approved furloughs for FY2012.
The Board also considered revenue enhancements, including:
- Significant increases in senior quarterly administrative fees – from $40 to $80 per cycle
- New fees in parking, technology, placement testing and transcripts
- Increased fees, elimination or limited community access to college facilities, such as swimming pool, tennis courts, athletic fields, gym and meeting rooms
- Increased fees for some of the personal enrichment programs
While the Board did not vote to approve the proposed revenue enhancements during the meeting they took the recommendations under consideration as they continue to assess the financial position of the college. Any or all of the recommendations can be enacted at any time.
Outgoing Board Chairman, Dr. James H. Johnson, Jr. added, “Despite the many proposals considered by the Board, at no time did we lose sight of our mission. We have a mandate to provide the highest quality, affordable education that serves this county and region, and the Board and staff will continue to do so to the best of our ability within these fiscal constraints.”
In presenting the budget to the Board, Dr. Smith noted that tuition and fees as a percentage of the overall college budget have climbed steadily since FY03, while funding from the county has declined. Tuition and fees hit a high of 46% of the budget in FY2012, up from 29% in 2003. Comparatively, funding from the county dropped from 33% of the budget to 28% of the budget in one year.
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