Lean Aacc Budget Anticipates More State Cuts

February 27, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff writer

Anticipating more cuts from the state, the board of trustees of AnneArundel Community College has adopted a budget requesting 10.6 percent less in state funding and only 2.8 percent more from the county.

Board members adopted a $31.1 million operating budget Tuesday night, $1.1 million above current spending levels.

"This is the most equitable budget we can present," board President Donald C. Roane said.

Like many of the county's institutions, the community college was forced to cut $3.1 million this fiscal year when the state reduced its contribution in order to balance its budget.

Vice President for Administration Edgar Mallick said he expectsthe state will ask the college's budget to be cut again during the fiscal year beginning July 1, this time by about 10 percent.

"We'rehopeful we will not get any more cuts this fiscal year," Roane said."We're most hopeful the economy will turn around, and the governor can restore some of the funding.

"Right now we're not hiring anyone, we're not filling any vacant positions. At some point we'll have tostop that. We cannot stand still. We need to develop."

The college has requested a 2.8 percent increase, or about $240,000, in county funding. The increase is based on a County Affordability Study that recommended 2.8 percent as an acceptable rate of growth. An additional$1.7 million is expected to be generated through increased tuition and fees.

The amount of money allocated for salaries and benefits was increased by about $1.1 million, to $25.8 million. Salaries and benefits account for about 85 percent of the community college's budget.

Mallick said $350,000 of the adopted budget is for step increases for college employees. Employees were asked to take two unpaid furlough two days this year as part of the college's cost-cutting measures.

Four vacant positions will remain unfilled, and the college's hiring freeze will remain in effect, Mallick said.

The college alsois requesting less money in the areas of contracted services and furniture and equipment. Roane suggested reporters covering the board's meetings may be asked to bring their own chairs.

The one-time $15 tuition surcharge imposed for the 1992 spring semester has been dropped and is not included in next year's budget, Mallick said.

In November, senior citizens, who had been taking courses for free, were asked to pay a $10 registration fee and a $40 fee per course. Now, the college has rescinded the $40 fee but asked senior citizens to pay a $20 registration fee like other community college students.

The college did increase laboratory fees by about 50 percent for some courses, including engineering, physics, nursing and art. But it reduced funding for employee health benefits, hoping it will be able to merge into the county's benefit plan.

The board also adopted a $10.5 million capital budget, its largest in recent years. The largest portion, $9.8 million, is for the expansion of the campus to the west, onto a 65-acre wooded area. A new 60,000 square-foot, four-story allied health building is planned for the site.

The college is seeking alternative funding for the building through private sources.

In otheraction, the board released figures and a study on the college's decline in enrollment from spring 1991. The college enrolled 11,225 students for the 1991 spring semester. Enrollment declined to 10,802 for the 1992 spring semester.

However, the 1991 enrollment included 378students who attended the January two-week session. The January session for 1992 was canceled because of the reduction in state funding.

Initially, college officials attributed the decline in enrollment to the increase in tuition fees. However, a telephone survey of current and former students found that career demands and a lack of free time were the reasons behind the decline in enrollment.

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