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Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced his funding recommendations today for Montgomery College’s fiscal year 2020 operating budget, which offered no additional funds over last year. The county executive’s proposal for only a maintenance of effort funding level is tremendously disappointing and frustrating, especially after the College worked to propose an exceptionally lean budget for FY20.

Montgomery College has made tremendous strides in recent years to ensure access to quality post-secondary education at the lowest cost to students. In our FY20 budget request, student tuition and fees cover 28.7 percent of operating costs, down from 40 percent in FY13. This dedication to fiscal sustainability is why the College remains the most affordable higher education option for Montgomery County residents. While the county has been a strong partner over the years for keeping tuition affordable, the troubling funding recommendations announced today by the county executive could threaten educational programs and increase costs for students.

Last month, the College submitted a student-focused FY20 operating budget, adopted by the College’s Board of Trustees, to the county executive and the council with a total appropriation request of $313.4 million. The county’s share of our budget request is $145.2 million, which this year includes an additional $3.1 million to advance compensation adjustments. The College also proposed new or additional funding for scholarships ($160,000), student financial aid and scholarship counselors ($100,000), Early College coordinators and summer bridge program ($185,000), and new building operating costs ($216,000). The board’s budget request reflects our commitment to our faculty and staff, and aligns with the county’s drive for fiscally sustainable operations and our shared goal to provide quality education at the lowest possible cost for our students.

The College’s FY20 budget request to the county is the lowest increase in several years, and comes following the College’s implementation of a FY19 savings plan, requested by the county executive in January, that called for a 1.5 percent reduction (approximately $2.8 million) in spending of our tax supported budget funding.

The College carefully crafted a lean budget that embraces fiscal discipline and sustainability to help ensure affordability for students and excellence in education. Our budget leverages existing resources, manages costs, and strengthens our focus on student success. With these strategies in place, the College’s Board of Trustees and I will ask our county councilmembers to seek full funding of our $3.1 million request. We remain committed to work with our county partners to foster a vibrant local economy, a highly skilled and dynamic workforce, and a county filled with opportunity. The budget process will be completed in mid-May, when the council takes final action on the county’s budget.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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