In expectation of a tuition increase of $4 per credit, Dundalk Community College today announced layoffs, a three-day furlough and a halt to certain public uses of its campus to make up for state budget cuts.
Tuition costs at Baltimore County's three community colleges are likely to increase by $4 per credit when the college Board of Trustees meets Nov. 13. Anticipating that action, Dundalk President Martha Smith has ordered moves to cope with a $1.4 million state cut in her college's $13.1 million budget.
Each of the county's two-year colleges has acted separately to address the budget crunch. Essex Community College on the county's east side and Catonsville Community College in the western county had no immediate budget moves of their own to announce today. Catonsville Community must deal with a $3.2 million cut in state aid, and Essex's budget was cut by $3 million.
Dundalk's Smith announced that fewer than 10 employees and temporary workers will be laid off, and all faculty and staff will be given three unpaid days off on Dec. 23, and Jan. 2 and 3 to enable the college to remain closed for two full weeks during the holiday season, saving additional money on utilities. She didn't specify the types of jobs targeted for layoffs.
Dundalk's plan also includes:
* Halting community use of its buildings, including the swimming pool.
* Dropping one play from the college's theater repertoire.
* Charging senior citizens who take college courses at county senior centers $20 per semester.
* Eliminating several community service programs held in college buildings.
Essex originally released a list of proposed cuts in mid-October, based on options of either $7, $11, or $14 per credit tuition increases. The Board of Trustees, however, canceled an Oct. 23 meeting at which it was to adopt a plan, apparently because it sought a smaller tuition increase.
Karen Adams, a spokeswoman at Dundalk, said today that Smith is reacting to "indications by the board that it's looking at lower-end tuition increases."
Sources said the board is determined to keep tuition as low as possible. A $4-per-credit increase would move tuition to $43 per credit for county residents at the three colleges, compared with $53-per-credit costs in Howard County, for example, and $56 per credit in Harford County.
Adams said the closing of the college's pool will affect many people. From January through October this year, 132 community groups with more than 25,000 members used the pool, college athletic facilities, classrooms and dance studio, according to the college.
Among public uses of the college that may have to end, the announcement said, are high school graduation ceremonies held there in June.