Community college trims spending plans

Trustees shave raises

fewer people to be hired

April 26, 2001|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Howard Community College officials had to do a bit of belt-tightening last night to get their budget in line with one proposed by County Executive James N. Robey.

Robey is asking the County Council to approve a 7.2 percent increase in HCC's operating budget, but that's not as much as officials had hoped for. The school's board of trustees requested 10.9 percent.

Trustees decided last night to make up the difference - $442,800 - by trimming the number of new positions and shaving about a third of a percent from the salary increase they planned to give instructors.

Officials still intend to hire nine employees, six of whom will be full-time faculty members.

Enrollment at the community college is growing each year - last semester a record 5,452 students signed up for credit classes - and the number of instructors has to keep pace, trustees said.

"It's very hard to grow without them," said Joan Athen, the board's chairwoman.

Robey's budget calls for HCC to get slightly more than $12.8 million for operating expenses.

He is also asking the council to approve $10.3 million in capital funds for a classroom building and renovations to the campus gymnasium.

Raymond S. Wacks, the county's budget director, said every agency's budget request had to be cut.

"We had a $30 million shortfall between requests and what we were able to fund," he said.

Under HCC's budget plan, student fees would rise 2.3 percent, about $1.86 a credit. Tuition costs would remain at $81 a credit.

The trustees' revised budget would give full-time faculty and staff a 5.65 percent raise, and adjunct instructors would earn $50 more per credit hour taught.

Currently, the average salary for faculty is about $51,000, while the average for staff is about $38,500, according to college records.

Adjuncts earn between $500 and $600 for each credit hour they teach.

The board also plans to increase the scholarship fund by $27,000 and hopes to extend some health benefits to retired employees next year.

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