Students, Tutoring Get Bigger Piece of the Pie

Child care, the tutoring center and student groups stand to get big funding increases next year.

The Student Senate approved a draft of the budget Thursday that gave child care $8,000 more, increased the Tutoring Center’s funds by $16,000 and budgeted nearly $159,000 for student groups, up from $134,555 the groups received last year.

This budget draft is the result of months of work, according to Ben Lowe, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah.

“All year long you’re looking at what kind of expenditures go to different places,” Lowe said. Lowe began the formal budgeting process about a month ago.

This year ASUU budgeted $1.2 million instead of the $1 million they budgeted for last year. Although this gave the organization more money to work with, the leaders still found places to cut costs.

K-UTE lost the most through the ASUU’s budget for next year, receiving only $8,000 instead of the $20,000 the station got from ASUU last year. The Senate passed a bill in the same meeting that removed K-UTE’s guaranteed 2 percent funding from the policies of ASUU.

Various cabinet budgets, including campus relations, the development office, the finance board and public relations got smaller amounts through the new budget.

Other cabinet budgets stand to get more money next year. The academic affairs and technology boards will both get $1,000 more, and the presidential operating fund will double to $10,000.

“It’s my recommendation,” Lowe said. “Billy [Edwards] should have a little bit more flexibility.”

The $5,000 Lowe had this year paid for his cell phone, student surveys and his travel costs to and from Board of Regents meetings. Lowe said he gets asked for money regularly and generally has to turn people down.

ASUU President-elect Bill Edwards participated most in budgeting for the Executive Cabinet, tweaking the numbers for the communications and development offices.

“We prepared a lot of the budget for Billy because he was put in office later” than usual because of the Olympic break, Lowe said. “He was very involved in the budgets of different boards.”

The budget also includes an increase of more than $10,000 for Executive Cabinet compensation. Part of this increase reflects the increase in the chief of staff’s salary, but Lowe also budgeted for cabinet compensation in the summer, something past administrations overlooked.

The budget increases the operating funds of both branches of the ASUU legislature by $2,500 each. These operating funds pay for the paperwork the legislature needs for monthly meetings, as activities for the legislators.

Increasing the operating funds will allow student representatives to use the extra money where they see fit, Lowe said. In the past, when the legislature has run out of operating money the students dipped into legislative contingency funds, the money that is supposed to go to the student groups and organizations.

Less money has been budgeted for compensation of General Assembly members next year, but according to Lowe this is because compensation has been overbudgeted in the past.

“$12,500 is budgeting for all the possible money [Assembly members] could receive,” Lowe said. “That never happens.”

Assembly members do not receive full compensation unless they attend all required meetings.

More money was budgeted for the Senate compensation since the body recently voted to increase their compensation by $5 per required meeting.

New items on the budget for next year includes $3,200 for the 16 college student councils and $350 for the upkeep of the ASUU golf cart.

“There’s not been a year when the golf cart has had some issues,” Lowe said. He also said the golf cart helps transport necessary equipment for ASUU events.

The college student councils received $300 each through ASUU legislation in January, and the proposed budget gives each council $200 to work with.

“It gives them a little bit to do some activities,” Lowe said. “It’s a small amount of money, if they need more they can apply.”

As the last item on the long Senate meeting agenda, the budget passed with very little debate and with only one dissenting vote.

The Assembly will vote on the budget Tuesday.

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