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HCC requests more money

March 16, 2005|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Community College is asking for a $783,357 budget increase, President Guy Altieri told the Washington County Commissioners during a special joint meeting with the college's board of trustees Tuesday.

The increase would support expenses related to growth at HCC, one of the state's fastest growing junior colleges, he said.

HCC is asking the county to provide $6 million this year. During the current budget year, the county provided the school with $5.2 million.

The college's proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2006 is approximately $25 million, college spokeswoman Beth Stull said.

"For the first time this fall our enrollment went up 10 percent and Frederick Community College's went down 2 percent," Altieri told trustees and the commissioners in an hour-long PowerPoint presentation.

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Since 2002, HCC's student enrollment has increased by 37 percent, while funding increased at a rate of about 8 percent, a college official said.

Altieri said the budget increase would fund the college's expanding curriculum, additional full-time faculty positions, advances in technology, and future building expansion and renovation projects.

Altieri presented data showing a steady decline of the college's state and county funding since 1981, a trend the college hopes to reverse.

"The county used to pick up 32 percent of our budget and they're now at 26 percent and we want them to start heading the other way and go up to 27 percent of our total budget next year," he said.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the commissioners support HCC's growth and commended Altieri's enthusiastic leadership.

"I've seen a big turnaround in the college in the last 21/2 years," he said. "You've bought a new excitement to the community."

But Snook said the college's funding request would pose a "significant challenge."

Snook said the commissioners won't finalize the county's operational budget for another two months. Prior to approving the budget, the commissioners will hold a public hearing on May 10 at HCC's Kepler Theater.

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