Legislature supports college fund

February 24, 1994|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Sun Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS -- A majority of the Maryland General Assembly agrees that community colleges in Carroll and across the state deserve a bigger share of money, Senate and House leaders said yesterday.

Still to be convinced is Gov. William Donald Schaefer, so that he will allocate up to $13.3 million more for community colleges in his supplemental budget.

Trustees from Carroll and other community colleges made one more trip to Annapolis yesterday to discuss the issue with legislators.

"I think the way in which it makes a difference is you get the issue in front of as many people as possible," said Barbara Charnock, president of the Carroll Community College board of trustees.

"Then it becomes something they're constantly thinking about," she said. "We let them know the importance of the community college, not only in Carroll County but in the state of Maryland."

Legislators and college officials said yesterday they believe that when the governor submits a supplemental budget this spring, it will include at least $3.3 million more in adjustments for Carroll and eight other community colleges. Of that, Carroll would get the biggest chunk, $889,000.

Under the current state formula, Carroll should be getting $889,000 more each year since it became independent from Catonsville Community College in July.

The formula subsidizes colleges according to size, so that smaller colleges, such as Carroll, should receive more aid per student than larger colleges, such as Catonsville.

However, the state didn't have enough money last year to give Carroll the equity adjustment.

Getting the money from the state would mean that Carroll would abandon a plan to increase tuition from $48 to $52 a credit hour and would ask for no additional money next year from the county, college officials have said.

Without the additional state money, the college is expected to get another $122,000 from the county in the 1994-1995 fiscal year, although the budget has not been approved by county commissioners.

At a lunch yesterday sponsored by the Maryland Association of Community Colleges, support and hope came from both House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., D-Allegany and Washington, and Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller.

Mr. Miller, a Prince George's Democrat, said support ran across party lines. "The Republicans and the Democrats are going to sit down together and say to the governor, 'When you come down with a supplemental budget, come down with more money for the community colleges,' " he said.

Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Carroll Democrat, said Carroll Community College has a good chance of getting the money. The supplemental budget comes late in the legislative session, which ends in April.

"We've got plenty of time," he said. "Government moves slowly."

Mr. Dixon said local delegates are supportive of the college's request and were kept informed through a legislative breakfast with Carroll Community College trustees before the legislative session began.

"We know what the needs are," he said.

At the lunch yesterday, Maryland Higher Education Secretary Shaila R. Aery said she expected the governor to include the extra money for community colleges.

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