SA shifts budget

Emma Dejong

Emma DejongManaging Editor

After several modifications in the last seven months, the Students’ Association’s budgeting guidelines have been finalized, initiating the budgeting for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

“We really want a university-conscious document,” SA Finance Chair Anthony Sutton said. “It’s our job to say, “Are we doing what’s best for all of the students?'”

The SA finance committee is in charge of allocating student fee dollars to organizations for various purposes.

The updates to SA’s budgeting guidelines, which used to be called the budgeting philosophy, were done with the intent of making the decision and allocation process clearer to anyone wanting funding.

“There’s been a shift to look at the big picture type of things,” Sutton said. “The small line items are important, but you also want to see what is our bigger purpose.”

Sutton said the other changes made were minor. Most of these were policies being shifted and consolidated.

As a part of the funding approval process, the University Activity Fee Budget Committee must approve decisions made by the SA finance committee. Sen. Catherine Grandorff is a student representative on UAFBC and said she is very happy with how the guidelines have turned out.

“The practice has been to make those guidelines match what we’ve [already] been doing,” Grandorff said.

SA President Brett Monson also said the changes are going to provide clarifications, and “it hasn’t been revamped to this caliber for a while.”

Sutton said what a group receives highly depends on how well the members organize their request.

“It’s really up to how you come in and present to us,” Sutton said. “Can you demonstrate that you are the group that needs this money?”

University Program Council President Michael Preszler met with Sutton and State and Local Chair Eric Haiar to discuss the reallocation for UPC’s general budget next year, and was pleased with the process.

“It goes really smoothly,” Preszler said. “Anthony has been great working with groups and explaining how the process works.”

Last year, SA allocated about 2.2 million dollars, and Sutton said he is guessing the amount will be close to that this year. With a limited budget, SA must be selective in choosing what groups need funds most.

“Sometimes, unfortunately it’s a first-come, first-serve basis,” Sutton said. “I hate to say this, but there is not an unlimited amount of money in the world.”

Groups must also be fiscally responsible, as it is common for SA to give groups less money than their request.

“Rather than giving them $10,000, let’s give them $1,000 and see what they can do on a limited budget,” he said.

Ultimately, the guidelines stress that the decision of whether or not to grant a group funding is dependent on how SDSU students benefit. Organizations that serve more students will typically receive more money.

“I talk a lot about trying to be utilitarian,” Sutton said. “Using that philosophy, The Union is going to get more money than say a smaller group.”

Grandorff said the overall goal of the changes made to the budgeting guidelines is to provide flexibility to the allocation process.

“Each group brings such unique needs,” Grandorff said. “It’s less cut-and-dry.”

#1.1782039:2186015496.png:3b-Tax-1-Ryan-Robinson.png:SA members sit and wait to be called upon. Brookings City Council members approved 5-2 the $15,000 increase requested by SA Nov. 9. SA previously met with the Brookings City Council on Oct. 26 but was not on the agenda, so no vote to could be taken. :Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson