Responses to the Budget Office's suggestion box are posted within 45 days of submission.
June 1, 2012: I noticed an ad in the Montgomery County Gazette that made me wonder if the College might raise scholarship funds in a similar way. The ad was titled "Drive One 4ur School". The first 300 drivers to complete a test drive of a new Ford vehicle would earn Damascus High School $6000 (Ford would donate $20 to DHS for each test drive). The test drive cars were parked at Damascus High School property. The event took place on a Saturday between 10AM-5PM. I don't know how successful it was .... but I expect DHS probably raised some money. I am guessing that residents might be swayed to come to a MC campus to do a test drive if it resulted in no pressure to buy and scholarship money for MC students, don't you? The Ford contact person was Jessica Reid at Sheehy Ford at 301-258-1015.
Response: Thank you for your fundraising suggestion. The Montgomery College Foundation will look into this and determine if this is something it wishes to pursue. Given that a corporation would be involved in marketing its product, the College and Foundation will need to check with general counsels about if this fits within the College's policies and procedures. If it does, the Foundation will determine if the time spent on the event is worth the return on investment. Thanks for the suggestion and we will follow up on the idea in the next 2-3 weeks.
May 8, 2012: Offer a third summer course schedule and have it coincide with the end of school year for MCPS. I have a daughter who is a junior at Gaithersburg High School. It is unlikely that she will be able to find a summer job this summer. I looked at the possibility of having her take a couple of summer courses here at MC but she is limited to only Summer II offerings since the last day of MCPS is June 12. And since Summer II starts July 9, she and I are left with finding something to occupy her time until the start of Summer II. I bet you would find many MCPS students who would be interested in starting College the summer of their junior year.
Response: We have some classes that begin later in the first summer session, and adjust our offerings as enrollments demonstrate needs. However, a program specifically designed for MCPS high school students wanting to take college summer courses is an idea that deserves thoughtful consideration.
December 12, 2012: When the initiative with India was presented to numerous Governance groups, promises were made that absolutely NO MC monies would be used for this initiative. At this time, MC's monies are being used to support the current trip to India. I find this most troubling in light of the fact that we are taking monies from a fund that receives money from student fees, including the new pay-for-print program. At this time, I can't find a justification of this practice. After 5 trips to India by College representatives, it seems to me that the College community is owed an accountability of what the time and monies have brought back to our students/College.
Response: I can appreciate your concerns. I want to reassure you, no money from student fees or tuition were used to support the trip to India. The operating fund, which is where student tuition, fees, and financial assistance are accounted for is used primarily for instructional support. In fact, in FY11 only 27.1% of the budget was spent on operations, maintenance, and institutional support. The other 72.9% was spent on instruction and instructional support. We take great care in ensuring these funds are spent primarily on the delivery of quality teaching and learning.
As a community college, we pride ourselves on our cost of access. With declining state and local financial support, however, we must find other alternative sources of revenue that allows us to continue to keep education affordable. We must remain relevant. Not unlike faculty and staff, without opportunities for growth, the College would become stagnant, outdated, and left behind. This is why the College invests in professional development funds in the operating budget. Auxiliary Services is where colleges seek the funds for “college professional development.” The reason these auxiliary services are outside the operating fund is because their purpose is to generate revenue that the College can use to explore opportunities of innovation, collaboration, and institutional growth without jeopardizing our fiscal responsibility over the operating fund.
Finally, this last trip to India was very successful for the College. I believe you’ll be hearing more about the College’s opportunities in the near future.
November 21, 2011: To improve Procurement Office productivity, I wish that the Procurement budget could be increased. I do not mind buying out of pocket specialty supply items that I want, but I have to draw the line at basic supplies. Last and this fiscal year, Procurement has had to operate with $2,400 for supplies for the entire fiscal year. I think that is deplorable for an office of such strategic value to the College. Basically, we are able to purchase only paper and toner cartridges. I see so much waste by other units! And some of our major expenses are to support collegewide needs, such as newspaper advertising for bids (required by P&P), United Parcel Service (UPS) for mailing packages, and courier service for BOT package delivery. From where I am sitting, a small infusion of funds for supplies, would boost productivity and morale.
Response: Thank you for your support and recommendation for increasing the Procurement Office budget. As Procurement has been deemed a strategic unit within the Administrative and Fiscal Services unit, the procurement budget should reflect the needs of the department in order to support collegewide initiatives and programs.
As you know during the past two years, funding to the college decreased from both the state and the county due to the national and regional fiscal situation. All support department budgets were reduced and all areas have felt the significance of these conditions. Sadly, many departments like procurement felt the impact more than others.
While the national and regional situation remains tenuous, this year the senior vice president for administrative and fiscal services has requested budget submissions based on the past trends, unit’s goals and support of collegewide initiatives. The senior vice president has asked each area to review their department budget based on past trends, and specifically what is truly required in terms of dollars to support their unit as well as those colleges goals. This means that units should recommend a budget that truly reflects the work procurement does. I would encourage you to recommend budget suggestions to the Acting Vice President of Procurement for the upcoming budget submissions.
October 27, 2011: A suggestion requests a revision to the Educational Assistance Program (EAP) form noting General Services Administration (GSA) pricing.
Response: According to the College’s Office of Procurement, the College is generally not authorized to utilize GSA pricing schedules, with the exception of schedules 70 and 84 (which relate to IT services and emergency facility services). Therefore, it is not appropriate to add the GSA box to the EAP form. However, the concern about having an employee complete a new EAP form and obtain new signatures for the same class at a cheaper price is duly noted. The Office of Human Resources will not return forms in the future for insignificant changes.