Now that school has ended for the summer, the last thing students are concerned about is the tuition that will be due in the next coming months.
For Montgomery County Community College students, they may want to start saving now because the county may not be able to fund what they promised to the college. After looking at the financial issues of the county, county Chief Financial Officer Uri Z. Monson recommended that the county slash annual allocation to the county by roughly 25 percent.
“Based on analysis, I indicated that if I were forced to make a recommendation now, it would be that the 2013 county budget would fund the college at an amount of $15,766,25 — a 25 percent reduction from the 2012 funding level,” Monson said.
The county commissioners will most likely follow Monson’s recommendations.
“We have said many times that based on the situation we inherited that choices were coming,” said chairman Josh Shapiro. “The three of us are preparing to make those choices. This is the reality of the times. We are not singling out the college but it just so happens we have to give the college some information at this time for their budget.”
Monson stated he would look for additional revenue to help fund the college. Some students may face more than a $4-per credit increase.
“While I am hopefully that the efforts the county is undertaking to reduce costs, increase efficiencies, and develop new revenue streams will change the county’s fiscal outlook, this is the reality facing the county at this time,” Monson said.
Though the budget is not set in stone, students should prepare.
“When you told us what we realistically could do to fund the college, it was heartbreaking for me hear that that and in no way reflects our opinion of the college,” said vice chairman Leslie Richards. “Every time I walk on the campus, I am proud of it. We fully believe in everything that the staff does. I just want to state this is just a realistic accounting of where we stand today, in the middle of 2012 putting our budget together and this is the numbers we can realistically fund.”
The county is also in the beginning stages of significantly ratifying its budget. County officials stated numerous times cuts to important services will be made and this may just be the first of many.
“These are the realities of the times, but the commissioners here are ready to make the decisions in a very thoughtful and careful way,” Shapiro said. “I want to make it clear that we are not singling out the college. As we go forward with the zero-based budgeting process, you can expect tough choices to come.”