The Montgomery College Board of Trustees has approved a $31.4 million budget for 1981-82 that does not increase salaries for the faculty, now in the midst of its first contract negotiation since the state permitted unionization at the college last year.
A pay increase is one of several issues in a long-running feud over management of the rapidly growing community college that faculty members and the college administration are trying to resolve through collective bargaining. Six negotiating sessions have been held since last October.
"We feel like King Lear raging on the health -- the elements listen but nobody else does," said John Bolton, professor of English and president of the newly formed college chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP).
He was referring to the erosion of the faculty's academic governing powers that has corresponded with the college's growth. Enrollment has nearly doubled in the past 10 years for a total of 17,750 students this year.
He gave as examples decisions made -- despite faculty protest -- to shorten the academic calendar by two weeks, to cancel courses, to not renew the contracts of several faculty members and to allow large class sizes.
"Basically, the questions are whether or not the management of the college has the right to control the quality of instruction," said Bolton. "We feel it does not. We don't feel the management has the right to tell us what textbooks to use, how to approach them, or how to evaluate our students.
"It is not a classic battle of academicians versus technocrats. Our concern is that we're really not sure what the direction of the institution is and what our part is. Students aren't sure either."
About 150 members of the faculty picketed on the Rockville, Takoma Park and Germantown campuses last week. They called it an "information picket."
"We felt the need to raise the consciousness of the institution's community and the community at large. It is uncharacteristic for faculty to be union, especially in a conservative community and in a conservative faculty. We felt the need to say that this is the way we are doing it. We see the community to be our constituency," said Bolton.
Tensions between faculty and administration marked the last six years of former college president William C. Strasser's 13-year term. When he was replaced by Robert E. Parilla in 1979, the faculty hoped the appointment would bring an end to the disputes. The majority of the faculty did not want collective bargaining powers at that time.
Less than a year later the faculty voted to unionize and today 80 percent of its 380 members belong to the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors.
Parilla, who came to Montgomery County from Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland said in a recent interview that the attitude of the faculty toward the administration was "understandable."
"An academic person is generally a highly creative person and not generally highly appreciative of organization and management," he said.
He said, however, that the growing fiscal constraints on the college made it necessary to keep tighter management reins.
The budget approved last week anticipates an increased enrollment of about 540 students next year and an 8 percent tuition hike.
Tuition, the highest among the state's community colleges, now is $25 per semester hour up to $375 per semester. Maryland residents outside of Montgomery County pay $52 per semester hour, with a maximum of $780 per semester, and out-of-state residents pay $72 per semester hour up to $1,008 per semester.
There are 698 non-Montgomery County Students from Marylan and 1,363 students from out of state, mainly from the District of Columbia.
The 380 teachers at the college currently earn from $12,364 to $29,385 for the academic year, with the median income at $24,226. Both sides agreed not to discuss specific salary requests until the contract negotiations are completed. Last year, non-faculty college employes received a 10 percent cost-of-living raise.
The Board of Trustees said it expects no increase this year in state aid, currently at $850 per full-time equivalent student. The college defines a full-time equivalent student as one who takes 12 credit hours per semester. Two students taking 6 credit hours each would equal one full-time student.
A subcommittee on education funding headed by Del. Lucille Mauer (D-Montgomery County) is recommending that the state increase its aid to community colleges next year.
Last year's budget of $29.338 million included $11.16 million from the county, $7.3 million from the state and $9.6 from tuition and fees. The college was told by the county government it could expect a 7 to 9 percent increase in local funds.
The County Council receives the college's budget by March 1 and makes its final decision by May 15.