Likely SGA budget cuts

Luke Heslip, Assistant Opinion Editor

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The current draft of the Student Government Assembly (SGA) budget for the upcoming academic year reduced funding for the majority of college departments even though the Student Center Fee (S.C.F) may double SGA coffers.

The Santa Rosa Junior College student government budget for 2015-16 is due May 11, on the last official SGA meeting.

According to SGA President Joshua Pinaula, the 2015-16 budget fell 25 percent short of initial extrapolation based on the current budget. The body calculated that low Clubcard Plus sales, a $15 amenities package, caused the decline.

Unrestricted budget funds from this academic year are $198,800.  The SGA-drafted version of the 2015-16 budget dated May 8 has $160,000 in unrestricted funds.

“There was an unsustainable program that was created by past senators,” Pinaula said. He criticized various departments in previous years consistently requesting money with minimal oversight and communication.

Departments historically received requested funds with few exceptions. Pinaula said past senates had significant vacancies and were ill-equipped to manage their budgets and liberally doled out money, which set an ongoing precedent.

Pinaula said departments should communicate and reason with the SGA to warrant budgetary requests.  “People shouldn’t expect money to just come to them without having to do any work,” Pinaula said.

SGA Executive Vice President and Chair of the budgetary committee Elijah Egger said, “We don’t have the money left over to do much other than what the body is already doing.”

Egger said most of the SGA’s budget goes to faculty and staff salaries. “More money has gone to people who work at the college than students themselves,” he said.

S.C.F. revenue is unknown and the SGA can’t collect said revenue until next academic year so its allocation and total aren’t defined. Student Affairs estimated anywhere between $150,000 and $200,000 for 2015-16.

Pinaula said the SGA would spend S.C.F. revenue conservatively and ensure the fund’s student centric use. “I would repeal the S.C.F. if it ever seemed like it was going to get compromised,” Pinaula said.

SGA Advisor and Dean of Student Affairs Robert Ethington said the SGA needs to be careful about cutting funding, especialy to departments, which provide benefits to Associated Students like athletics.

“Taking care of people who take care of you, that’s politics, and the politics of money can go both ways,” Ethington said.  “This is their learning lab with money and they are going to have to deal with the consequences of their decisions.” 

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