The University of Maryland Board of Regents has endorsed Gov. William Donald Schaefer's plan to revamp Maryland's college system, saying it would lead to stronger advocacy -- and, in turn, more money -- for higher education.
"I think the governing system is likely to be improved by this new structure," said Allen L. Schwait, chairman of the board that governs the five University of Maryland campuses, "assuming there are excellent people named to the . . . boards and assuming the kind of funds we need."
The governor's plan, which he has asked the General Assembly to approve during its current 90-day session, would replace the current Board of Regents with a new board that would oversee 11 of the state's 13 four-year public colleges and universities.
The new system also would disband the State Board for Higher Education, and create a new commission to coordinate all the state's public and private colleges and universities. Led by a commissioner appointed by the governor, the commission would gain new power to determine schools' curriculum, but would have less role in determining college budgets than the 12-year-old State Board for Higher Education.
Schwait said yesterday that this method would give the university more autonomy over its budget requests.
He added, however, that the regents were disappointed that the governor's plan would allow Morgan State University in Baltimore to keep its governing board. He said that arrangement could frustrate Schaefer's goal of reducing rivalries among schools for popular academic programs.
Schwait said the regents are supporting Schaefer's plan primarily because they believe the governor will lavish more money on the colleges, once he is satisfied with the way they are governed.
But in a statement issued Friday, the regents indicated they were dissatisfied with the sum of money Schaefer has proposed for the schools next year.