photo of Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard

Dr. Pollard Says ‘Still Work to be Done’ with Funding (Video)

In this MyMCMedia extra, Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard says there is “still work to be done, but we’re very grateful” with proposed funding for Montgomery College in Fiscal Year 2015.

Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard released the following statement following the release of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s FY 2015 Operating Budget recommendations.

“Montgomery College appreciates the support of the Montgomery County Executive in recommending an operating budget increase of $11 million in additional county funding for fiscal year 2015 in comparison to last fiscal year. The additional funding will cover increased employee compensation and benefits costs, allowing Montgomery College to support the dedicated faculty and staff who have been instrumental in ensuring our organization continues to provide a quality, locally provided postsecondary education.”

“While grateful for the County Executive’s support, the College’s board of trustees adopted a fiscal year 2015 operating budget of $244.4 million, with a request of $18.9 million in new resources from the county to catch up from the effects of the recession and propel the College forward.”

“Montgomery County is at a crossroads. While home to many successful employers, poverty has increased. A strong school system is essential, but it is no longer enough to succeed in today’s knowledge economy. It is not enough to close Maryland’s skills gap. It is not enough to move Montgomery forward. An investment in kindergarten through postsecondary education (K–20) is a necessity in today’s economy—and Montgomery College serves as the lynchpin in locally provided higher education.”

“Aligned with our strategic plan, the Montgomery College operating budget would better serve the students of today and the future. Continued investment in Montgomery College ensures residents have access to locally provided postsecondary education to earn good-paying jobs. Budget priorities for Montgomery College include advancing excellence, enhancing access to postsecondary education, driving success and completion, and protecting affordability.”

FY15 Operating Budget

Advancing excellence
“Montgomery College is dependent on its faculty and staff—employees who made significant sacrifices to support the organization during the recession—to deliver academic excellence and to support students in achieving success. The fiscal year 2015 operating budget provides for compensation negotiated last year and increased benefit costs.”

Enhancing Access to Postsecondary Education
“In addition to compensation costs, the College operating budget calls for new positions to open the Bioscience Education Center on the Germantown Campus this fall. Among the 38 positions necessary to operate the center are biology, chemistry, and biotechnology lab coordinators; instructional associates that will provide tutoring assistance to students in the new science learning center; custodial staff; and security officers.”

“The College is seeking funding for 13 new full-time faculty members that would serve greater numbers of students in high-demand disciplines, such as the sciences and mathematics, across the three campuses. Additional staffing for the nursing program would allow the College to continue to educate increasing numbers of students in an effort to address the statewide nursing shortage. Funds for community engagement efforts will help ensure all Montgomery County residents can access their community’s college.”

“The positions necessary to operate the Bioscience Education Center, as well as the additional faculty and staff members necessary to ensure access across disciplines, are crucial to Montgomery County’s effort to educate residents, attract businesses, and retain jobs that will contribute to a thriving local economy.”

Driving Success and Completion
“The operating budget would increase staffing to support the College’s new Welcome Centers, which serve as a first-stop for anyone new to the College and a one-stop for prospective students who need assistance with the application and enrollment process. Additional staffing would go toward Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES), a partnership program with Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools, and the Universities at Shady Grove. Requests for a financial aid staff position would assist students afford to complete their education.”

Protecting Affordability
“Over the past five years, the number of MC students applying for financial aid grew by 60 percent, and students have had to shoulder a greater amount of the institutional operating costs as public funding declined. Per legislative intent, community college students should cover 33 percent of the operating budget costs, but tuition and fee revenue now account for 38.3 percent of the College’s most recent budget.”

“The operating budget currently assumes a modest tuition adjustment of $3 per credit hour for local residents, $6 per credit hour for state residents, and $9 per credit hour for out-of-state residents. Additional funding from the county would minimize growth in student tuition costs and increase institutional scholarship opportunities to encourage students to continue and complete their education.”

Next Steps

“Montgomery College is crucial to moving Montgomery County forward and to ensuring that—no matter the circumstances—any resident can obtain a postsecondary education and a place in the middle class. The operating budget request of $244.4 million by Montgomery College—a 7.3 percent increase over the current fiscal year, with an assumed $18.9 million in support from the county—would enable the College to catch up, reinvest, and build for our future students and community.”

“The recommended operating budget will now go before the Montgomery County Council for consideration, where I remain confident that councilmembers will recognize that Montgomery County needs a strong community college to enhance access to quality postsecondary education. By investing new resources in Montgomery College, the County Executive and County Council will support growth of a highly skilled workforce that will meet the needs of local employers and propel Montgomery forward.”

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at sburke@mymcmedia.org or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.

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