County exec to trim college’s budget


Photo by Roxanne Ready

The county executive’s proposed budget eliminates funding college administrators had planned to use to update the Dragun building’s science labs.

Roxanne Ready, Editor-in-Chief

Anne Arundel’s county executive on May 1 submitted to the county council a budget proposal that would give AACC less money than the college requested.

County Executive Steve Schuh’s proposal would give AACC $2.1 million more than last year toward operating costs, but it falls short of the college’s request by $1.7 million. 

“While this is a significant contribution by the county, we are disappointed in this reduction,” said an email from AACC President Dawn Lindsay’s office to college employees. The email also said the college will prioritize maintaining pay for faculty and staff and is “reviewing” planned raises.

Melissa Beardmore, AACC’s vice president for learning resources management, told Campus Current that administrators are still working out how to accommodate the county’s cuts, but that in general the college’s budget will be “closer to the bone.” For example, “We may have to hold positions vacant a little longer … to save money” or reduce benefits, she said.

“What we try to do is preserve the classroom [and] those things that touch students the most,” such as advising, Beardmore said.

The budget proposal also shrinks the college’s capital budget, eliminating most of the money needed for improvements and renovations to the college over the next few years.

The proposal funds the planned Health Sciences and Biology building—currently in the design phase—basic facility repairs and an upgrade to the college’s emergency response antenna system.

Both Beardmore and Lindsay said they are grateful to the county for continuing to fund the new building.

But the proposal eliminates $34 million needed for planned renovations and additions to the Dragun building, which houses AACC’s science labs, over the course of FY 2021-2023. In an email to Campus Current, Beardmore called the building’s science labs “undersized and insufficient.”

“Students who come to us from high schools in the county have better science labs than we do,” Beardmore added.

William Johnson, a math, chemistry and physics student who works in the science labs, said the labs “do function” but are outdated. He also said he thinks it would be safer to have fewer students working “on top of each other” with the equipment.

The proposal also cuts $2.5 million the college had planned to use to make repairs to the bridge between the SUN and Student Services buildings, replace part of the air circulation system in Pascal and replace the Dragun building roof.

Lindsay said she asked the council at a budget presentation on May 8 to restore $1.3 million of that money so the college can re-roof the Dragun building.

The county council must approve a final budget by June 15.