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Budget Update

by Ronald A. Williams
President

As we near the end of the fall semester and look ahead to the FY 2005 budget, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the current fiscal situation at Prince George’s Community College. As with other community colleges in Maryland, we have struggled with ongoing state budget cuts, and earlier this year faced the possibility of furloughing faculty and staff. Fortunately, Prince George’s County, through the efforts of County Executive Jack Johnson, was able to allocate additional funds to the college to cover the latest round of state cuts.

More good news stems from this development. The additional funding received from the county also makes it possible to provide modest salary and wage increases. I am pleased to report that the Board of Trustees has approved a two-percent salary increase for FY 2004, effective in January. Since we will already be halfway through the fiscal year, the raise will amount to a one-percent increase through June 30, 2004. Beginning with FY 2005 on July 1, the full two-percent increase will be added onto base annual salaries. The board also approved an increase in pay of $25 per credit hour for adjunct professors. Employees will also receive a one-time bonus—$400 for full-time employees and $200 for part-time employees—to be included in their December 5 paycheck, in time for the holidays.

Furthermore, in a recent article in The Washington Post, County Executive Johnson reiterated his support for Prince George’s Community College by placing increased state funding for the college on his legislative agenda for the county. Although the state’s fiscal situation remains unstable, making it difficult to predict what type of cuts lie ahead, we can be assured that the county executive is a firm advocate of our mission. A strong relationship with the county government is fundamental to our success.

I like to think that one of the reasons for Mr. Johnson’s steadfast support is his personal knowledge of the excellent work we do here. In October, he joined us for a reception honoring the new Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA) scholars, and spoke movingly about success and motivation. In fact, he was so inspired by the scholars and their stories that he abandoned his prepared remarks and spoke extemporaneously. I firmly believe that the more people are exposed to the work of Prince George’s Community College faculty, staff, and students, the more supporters we will enlist.

Nearly six months after the start of the fiscal year, the college’s budget uncertainties have finally been resolved. However, we have no indication of what we can expect in next year’s budget negotiations. The state’s projected budget shortfall for the next fiscal year is more than $700 million. Past years have shown that higher education’s budgets are disproportionately cut in times of financial difficulty. It is likely that we will face more unsettling moments in the future.

Whatever the fiscal scenario at this time next year, it is important to remember that we do not compromise on the excellence of our endeavors based on our budgetary situation. The college 

nd the county are engaged in a partnership to increase our resources, and we will always do the utmost to ensure that our employees receive as much support as possible.

For the time being, it gives me great satisfaction that we were able to avoid furloughs this year, and that we are able to provide some well-deserved financial benefits to faculty and staff. The work you do is at the heart of our commitment to excellence.

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 19, No. 1

Fall 2003