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“Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced his funding recommendations yesterday for Montgomery College’s fiscal year 2018 operating budget—$2 million in county funds over last year.

 Last month, the College submitted its operating budget to the county executive and the county council with a total appropriation request of $313.7 million for fiscal year 2018. This included a $7.4 million request in additional county funding to support pay raises. I deeply appreciate the county executive’s support and his recommendation of $2 million in additional county funding for the College. In light of the county’s fiscal concerns with respect to the potential impact of reductions in the federal workforce on the county’s economy, we are especially grateful for the county executive’s support of the College’s mission.

Specifically, the College asked for a county contribution of $7.4 million—to provide compensation and benefit increases for our valued employees. No new major program initiatives are included in our request. The College continues to provide affordable postsecondary education to county residents, while also advancing excellence on our campuses. Our dedicated faculty and staff provide students with an excellent education and make student success possible, so the College requested the funds to honor your efforts.

 Our proposed budget also included appropriation authority to continue our work with the Achieving the Dream network to ensure equity for student success; to implement open education resources that will make education more affordable; and to enhance the College’s security. No new funds were requested to support these priorities.

 The College continues to prioritize affordable tuition and the county has been a strong partner over many years in this endeavor. The tuition increase anticipated by the College’s Board of Trustees for fiscal year 2018 is 2.9 percent. Tuition and related fees are expected to generate $81.7 million in revenues. The county’s continued investment in the College since the Great Recession, in particular, has helped the College maintain tuition that is affordable to students. Currently, thanks to the county’s support, students contribute 32.2 percent of our operating costs, down from 40.0 percent in fiscal year 2013.

 The College has carefully crafted a prudent budget that balances fiscal discipline with affordability for students and excellence in education. Our budget maximizes the use of existing resources, keeps tuition affordable, and continues to focus on spending for 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 request of $7.4 million, to fund increases in employee compensation and benefits cost increases to honor our commitment to excellence and student success. Together with our county partners, we can help build a shared future that benefits our entire community—a dynamic workforce, vibrant local economy, 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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