2016-2017 budget cuts and increases

By Aaron Berry

The mini-grant pool is set to nearly double next year, while the Multicultural Center’s budget will be cut by nearly one-third, according to the recently released student services and activities (SS&A) budget proposal.

The budget was written by the SS&A committee, which manages the $1.4 million collected from students annually by the SS&A fee – a per-credit fee which can cost a student up to $115 each quarter.

The SS&A committee presented the proposal to SCC’s board of trustees on May 31, who will then vote to approve it at their meeting on June 22.

Significantly, this year’s proposal recommends a $33,000 increase in the mini-grant fund, bringing it to $78,000.

Mini-grants provide extra funding for students and programs, contingent on approval by the ASG. Examples of approved mini-grants include a river-rafting trip for the Muslim Student Association and extra funding for the Dental Hygiene program’s commencement ceremony.

According to Enken Ketsela, the ASG budget and finance officer, This comes after the Associated Student Government (ASG) dipped into the contingency fund for the second-year in a row to support mini-grant requests from clubs and programs.

“The ASG approved 37 mini-grants this year and exceeded the allotted amount (of money),” she said. “The SS&A committee considers an increase necessary.”

Unlike last year, when the fee was raised from $97, this year’s SS&A committee is not recommending a fee hike – the fee is still well under the state maximum of $136.

Other big changes in the SS&A budget include a 30 percent cut to the Multicultural Center’s budget and a 70 percent cut to the Choral Ensemble’s budget.

Much of the cut to the Multicultural Center comes from travel expenses, according to the budget proposal. However, the rationale for cutting the Multicultural Center, the proposal also states that, “the Arts & Entertainment Board (A&E) has contributed a large sum of money towards the Community Book Read.”

According to Ketsela, “the (SS&A committee), ASG and the Arts & Entertainment Board have supported and will continue to support the Multicultural Center.” She stressed that the cut was largely focused on travel expenses.

“Although the Multicultural Center did not request this cut, it is important to recognize that this program is always welcome to apply for a mini-grant and present it to the ASG Board.”

The Multicultural Center will now make up just over one percent of SS&A spending, as opposed to the Arts & Entertainment Board’s 13 percent.

Cuts to the Choral Ensemble, down to about $5,000 from an annual budget of about $17,000, are the result of significant underspending.

Other changes include cuts to Spindrift, intramural sports, the Student Leadership Center and the ASG, while DECA and tutoring services are receiving increased funding. Other budgets, including club funding and Athletics, are remaining largely the same.

According to Rezina Habtemariam, the Acting Director of Student Life, these decisions are informed a survey put out by the SS&A committee. The survey, which Habtemariam said has had over 400 responses, is still ongoing. However, comprehensive results have not yet been released.

“This is after an initial review of the survey results,” Habtemariam said. “The survey is still ongoing and we’re still encouraging students to take it up until the end of the quarter.”

Nevertheless, Habtemariam said that the survey results will not change any allocations for next year.