Decisions on campus funding, other Hagerstown items in state budget delayed

April 01, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

ANNAPOLIS -- Another round of state budget negotiations in Annapolis ended Monday morning with no final decision on money for the university campus in Hagerstown.

Lawmakers representing the Senate and the House have scheduled another budget conference meeting for today.

Monday was the third day of talks on a variety of budget differences that the chambers need to resolve in the legislative session's waning days.

One issue is fiscal year 2009 funding for University System of Maryland at Hagerstown.

The House has approved a plan to transfer all of the center's $2.1 million budget to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, to be split among USM-H and six higher education centers outside the university system that receive far less money.

According to one funding proposal, Hagerstown could get about $700,000. That money is not guaranteed.

In addition, the center would get $1 million diverted from USM's main office, for a possible total of about $1.7 million.


Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, secured the additional $1 million when the $2.1 million funding shift surfaced in the House Appropriations Committee.

The Senate has maintained that the center should get its full $2.1 million funding.

Del. John L. Bohanan Jr., D-St. Mary's, whose subcommittee came up with the plan to shift and spread the $2.1 million, said after Monday's negotiating session that possible compromises are being considered.

"A lot of different ideas are being floated," said Bohanan, a House representative on the budget conference committee.

Another Hagerstown-area funding issue that is up in the air is money for a new Maryland State Police barrack off Sharpsburg Pike.

A Senate committee approved $14.8 million in the state's capital budget, but a House committee eliminated that money.

A compromise suggested Monday would allow the money to be cut in fiscal year 2009, as long as there's a funding commitment for fiscal year 2010.

The conference committee also took no action on that item.

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