Budget proposals $6 million more than 2008-09

The Student Fee Committee has now received all of the initial requests from student groups and departments for their 2009-10 budgets and the total amount requested is almost $6 million more than the 2008-09 requests.

The Student Fee Committee has now received all of the initial requests from student groups and departments for their 2009-10 budgets and the total amount requested is almost $6 million more than the 2008-09 requests.

For the 2009-10 budgets approximately $18.8 million was requested, while student groups’ and departments’ initial budget proposals for 2008-09 totaled $12,802,935.

SFC Chair Aimeera Flint said that while some student groups and departments may receive all of the funds they have requested, the committee will most likely not be able to give all groups their entire requests.

“We can’t give everybody everything they ask for, because the student fee would go up by $70 per person, and that is not OK,” Flint said.

SFC member Vanessa Hernandez said there are several reasons for the substantial increase in initial budget requests for 2009-10, including changes in student leadership, as well as groups who may have overspent in the past and wish to account for the additional costs to prevent further additional expenditures in the future.

“They are asking for more money because, last year, they didn’t budget enough for gas when they drove to conferences,” Hernandez said, adding that there have been instances when groups attend conferences or events that require them to drive, they underestimate the cost of gas and general travel expenses.

Hernandez also said that some departments are growing, so it is understandable that they are requesting additional funds for 2009-10. But she said that even though the groups are growing the same review process applies to all groups and departments.

The SFC, which is made up of seven student members and one student chair, allocates student fees to about 150 Portland State student groups and departments each year. This year the SFC allocated $12.5 million to student groups and departments, including athletics and the Vanguard.

Each year the SFC receives initial budget proposals from student groups and departments during fall term, and then assesses the requests and makes initial allocations at the beginning of winter term. Groups and departments are then able to appeal before final allocations are made.

Flint said that another reason the total amount requested was so much larger than previous years is because over 20 groups are asking for more than a 100 percent increase compared to how much they were allocated for their 2008-09 budget.

Portland State Professional Sound, formerly the Popular Music Board, is one group that has significantly increased its initial budget request for 2009-10.

“We are asking for three times as much money,” said Reid McCargar, PSPS production coordinator. “Most of what we are asking for is a one time purchase for equipment to meet the growing needs of the university.”

For 2009-10 PSPS has requested $258,790, while the group requested $97,982 for its 2008-09 budget. McCargar said that PSPS, which provides sound equipment for events around campus, has seen a steep spike in demand for their services this year. The group has had 38 requests already this year, McCargar said, while in 2007-08 they worked at 35 events for the entire year.

McCarger also said that with the increased demand PSPS does not want to turn away groups who are holding events because they have an insufficient amount of equipment or labor.

With the spike in workload, McCarger said it is important that the inadequate equipment the group currently has is replaced with higher quality sound systems that can better handle the increased number of events at which PSPS is routinely working.

Since Flint said it is unlikely that all of the student groups and departments will receive the entire amount that they requested in their 2009-10 budget proposals, she recommends that in the future, groups prioritize budgetary items such as events, travel and resources, and look for co-sponsorships to reduce the costs of holding larger events.

Hernandez said when groups do not receive the entire amount that they requested, the SFC will provide some assistance in ensuring that their allocation is sufficient. “[We will help] them to see how they can use their funds more efficiently,” Hernandez said.