Montgomery College President Asks County Council To Fully Fund Its Budget Request To Pay for Staff Raises
Leggett’s proposed budget for the college falls about $5 million short, according to the school’s president
Montgomery College Student Services Building at the Takoma Park/ Silver Spring campus
Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard is asking the County Council for additional funds after County Executive Ike Leggett proposed about $5 million less than what the college had requested in its fiscal 2018 budget proposal.
Pollard said in a statement that the funds Leggett proposed for the school—$309.3 million—in next year’s county operating budget won’t be enough to support pay raises for its staff members, the one new request included in the college’s budget, which funds operating expenses from July 1 to June 30, 2018.
The community college had requested $313.7 million in funding, including $7.4 million for the raises. The school employs about 1,800 teachers, administrators and other staff members that serve more than 60,000 students at campuses in Rockville, Takoma Park/Silver Spring and Germantown.
Pollard said she will ask the council to approve the funds as members review the budget and make changes to Leggett’s proposal over the next two months.
“We recognize the county is in a difficult situation, but our business is people,” Pollard said in a phone interview Thursday. “It would be irresponsible for me not to advocate for the needs of the college in the next fiscal year.”
Pollard said the funds would be used to provide a 4.5 percent pay raise for all college employees. She said planned pay raises were cut last year after the council asked the college’s leaders to renegotiate with the three collective bargaining units that represent the school’s employees.
“My folks came back to the table and did that,” Pollard said. Now she wants to advocate on their behalf to make good on the planned pay raises that administrators negotiated with school employees this year.
The additional funds would also be used to fund a 1 percent cost-of-living increase.
The college has requested a 5.5 percent increase in county funds—a total of about $141.5 million. But Leggett proposed allocating $136.1 million for the college, an amount the county executive’s office noted is $2 million more than the state-mandated maintenance of effort contribution, which requires local school districts to spend at least as much per student as they did in the previous year in order to receive state education aid. This left the college about $5.4 million short of the funds it requested to pay for the pay raises it negotiated with its employee unions.
The college’s budget request notes the $35.5 million it expects to receive in state funds in fiscal 2018 is a 1.6 percent decrease from its fiscal 2017 budget. The school uses tuition payments and federal and state grants to fund the rest of its more than $300 million budget.
The council is scheduled to review Leggett’s proposed budget over the next month and a half before formally approving the county budget in May.
“Over the next month as the County Council does its work reviewing and assessing the budget, the college will continue to engage in deep, rigorous conversations about the needs of our students and employees,” Pollard said.