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On the Agenda: Montgomery College

Montgomery County Council’s education committee will discuss the proposed construction budget for Montgomery College.

Montgomery County Council’s education committee on Monday will discuss the $332.5 million six-year construction budget County Executive Isiah Leggett proposed for Montgomery College, about $178 million less than what the college asked for.

The County Executive’s proposed $4.2 billion capital budget reflects a spending increase of 4.2 percent. The County Council has until June 1 to make a final decision on the budget.

Montgomery College asked the county for $510 million, which included several big-ticket projects at its Germantown campus.

The college’s primary sources for construction funding come from the county revenue, county bonds and state aid.

In an interview with The Gazette, Montgomery College President DiRonne Pollard reportedly said that while she was grateful for county’s support, she was concerned students across school’s three campuses might not have the same access to academic resources under Leggett’s proposed budget.

In response, The Gazette reported, Leggett said he focused on the college’s priorities and the amount of money available and not necessarily maintaining balance across the college’s campuses. Leggett also said in the article that the college’s requested $186 million increase in construction funding wasn’t affordable.

The college had already reduced its general obligation bond funding by $6.4 million for 2013-16 as requested by Leggett, Pollard said in a letter to the county executive and to the council.

Stephen Z. Kaufman, chairman of the college’s Board of Directors, said the college would not seek full funding, according to his written testimony for a public hearing Thursday.

But he expressed concern over the omission of $2.2 million to fund IT equipment for the Germantown Bioscience Education Center project and the fact that a new student center in Germantown got bumped out of the budget’s six–year span.

Kaufman showed concern over the lack of funding for a parking garage at its Rockville campus and that a new Math and Science Center at Takoma Park/Silver Spring was moved out of the six-year budget.

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