AACC administrators to build relationship with county exec.


Photo courtesy of Steuart Pittman

Newly elected County Executive Steuart Pittman says AACC is “important” to him.

Ashley Sokolowski, Associate Editor

AACC President Dawn Lindsay said she hopes to foster a good relationship with the new county executive and members of the Anne Arundel County Council.

On Nov. 8, Anne Arundel County voters elected farmer and community organizer Steuart Pittman as county executive, along with six new members to the County Council.

Pittman won against outgoing County Executive Steve Schuh, who held the position for four years.

“We will be nurturing a very positive relationship with [the county executive] and the council members,” Lindsay said.

Pittman told Campus Current he also strives to have a close relationship with AACC.

“The community college to me [is] as important as the public school system,” Pittman said. “It’s how we turn young people into qualified contributors to society, and most of my job with [Lindsay] and … the community college is to listen and assess the needs and provide the resources that we can to help.”

According to Dr. Dan Nataf, the director of AACC’s Center for the Study of Local Issues, Pittman will face a learning curve during the first months after he takes office on Dec. 3.

The newly elected county executive and council members will have to balance AACC’s budget needs with those of other institutions in the county, Nataf said.

“Pittman never said anything specific about the college at all [during his campaign],” Nataf said. “This is probably because he hasn’t been to the college much and doesn’t really know its demands, its needs, its financial commitment.”

The county executive and council review budget requests from all county agencies and decide how much funding each one receives. AACC submits its budget request to the county in late February.

The college receives approximately one-third of its funding each from the county, the state and student tuition.

In fiscal year 2018, the county awarded AACC 40 percent of its funding—rather than one-third­—after the state did not contribute its full one-third share.

However, in July, the county approved $2.1 million for fiscal year 2019—which is $1.7 million less than school administrators requested.

“I know that [Schuh] was not able to provide all the resources that the community college requested, but I can’t guarantee that I will be, either,” Pittman said. “Budget decisions are based on dividing up the pie, and so I don’t want to criticize the decisions he made with respect to the community college at this point.”

Lindsay said AACC officials will “get out there and help the county executive and County Council understand the internal workings of the college.”

One new County Council member said she has “a lot to learn.”

Councilwoman-elect Allison Pickard, who will represent parts of Gambrills, Glen Burnie, Pasadena and Severn in District 2, was already scheduled to meet with Lindsay to talk about the college and its programs.

“I think that it is important to build relationships with the leaderships there and the student body as well, and just go from there,” Pickard said. “As a new council member … I am very open to the process of getting to understand the needs and the vision of the community college and how we can work together to bring it all to fruition.”