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Student Government conquers deficit left by cost of living adjustment.

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Student Government conquers deficit left by cost of living adjustment.

Christian DaSilva, Staff Writer

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SRJC’s Student Government Assembly (SGA) approved a solution Nov. 26 to a $14,000 staff salary deficit caused by a recently approved 6 percent staff salary increase.

Last February, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) began negotiations to raise salaries and cost of living (COLA) for all SRJC classified staff. Passed in July, the SEIU established a 6 percent increase to salaries with 2 percent coming from an increase to the COLA, and totaling $14,000 additionally required to pay specialized staff in student government for this year.

The SGA receives its funding from transportation, student center, student representation and cub card premium fees that students pay at enrollment.

The SGA is responsible for establishing each semester’s budget from these four revenue streams to finance clubs and activities for the year. Some of these funds are set aside annually to pay SGA staff salaries and other pre-established budgets.

Unfortunately, the SEIU announced the salary and COLA increases a month after SGA had already approved its budgets, including the staff budget for 2018-19. This left the staff budget with a $14,000 deficit, money SGA had to find to make up for the shortfall. This was a daunting task as SRJC clubs and programs are already in desperate need of additional funds.

Assembly members considered two possible solutions in early November to solve the deficit without further jeopardizing SRJC club activities. Both would pull from a reserve savings account that the SGA had been growing for years.

One plan would have reallocated $10,000 from a private reserve account, set up to pay for specialized staff working overtime at school events and fundraisers, and then pulling the remaining $4,000 from the SGA reserve account.

This reserve account is generated from funds leftover in the four different student fee accounts at the end of the year. For example, if there are funds left unused in the transportation fee account at the end of the year, these funds get allocated into the reserve account for emergencies.

Zack Miranda, one of the three SGA staff members who coordinates student government programs, said SGA always hesitates to pull from this emergency fund until it’s their only option.

“It’s kind of our rainy day fund. If we ever have a really big shortfall, such as a $14,000 staffing need, that money is there to be utilized,” Miranda said.

SGA members finally put the issue to rest on Nov. 26 by voting to pull all $14,000 from the SGA reserve account, sparing SRJC clubs and school programs from the possibility of losing funding.

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Student Government conquers deficit left by cost of living adjustment.