Funding may be available for CCC Dixon hopes state will close budget 'gap'

February 18, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- Del. Richard N. Dixon told Carroll officials yesterday he was "cautiously optimistic" that some state money could be found to close a budget gap at Carroll Community College.

"I will leave it at that," said the Carroll Democrat, who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and a subcommittee on education and transportation. He declined further comment.

College officials and county commissioners met with the Carroll delegation yesterday to press the legislators to secure $843,000 in state funding for the two-year institution, which is in the process of becoming independent from Catonsville Community College.

"The college faces a crisis," said Joseph F. Shields, Carroll's executive dean. "We need your help."

As an independent institution, the college should receive an additional $843,000, according to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, but the money was not included in the governor's fiscal 1994 budget.

College and county officials asked the delegation to:

* Assure that the decision to grant Carroll Community College the authority to issue two-year degrees not be tied to the issue of equitable funding;

* Provide the funding in a supplemental budget; or, as a one-year compromise, appropriate a small-college grant of $262,768 from the governor's recommended budget for challenge grants.

However, Del. Lawrence A. LaMotte, D-Carroll and Baltimore, said he believed the delegation would have trouble getting any money out of the challenge grant fund.

Without the money, Mr. Shields said, the college's efforts to become an independent college may be jeopardized. Currently its parent institution, Catonsville, issues two-year degrees to the students.

The $843,000 would correct an "inequitable funding formula" begun in 1988, Mr. Shields said. About 83 percent of the college's budget comes from student tuition and county dollars. Just 17 percent of its revenue comes from the state -- the lowest percentage of support for any state-funded institution of higher education, he said.

At issue has been how much of the $843,000 could be approved for fiscal 1994 and from where the funds would come. The state's other community colleges oppose parting with any of their state dollars, Mr. Shields said.

Without the money, he said, the college would have to increase tuition from $48 to $52 per credit hour, ask the county for more money and cut its operating expenses.

"We'll see if we can do something," said Sen. Charles Smelser, a Democrat who represents Frederick, Carroll and Howard.

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