One down, one to go.
Shoreline Community College has an operating budget for 2010-11, but it’s going to take a special session of the Board of Trustees if there’s to be a Student Services and Activities budget by the end of the fiscal year.
At their final regularly scheduled meeting of the year, Wednesday, June 23, the trustees approved an overall budget that totals $40.6 million. While a net increase over 2009-10, that figure includes a $1.5 million cut in state-allocated discretionary funds. Increased revenue from tuition, nearly $1 million due to a state-approved rate hike and flood of students looking for help during the economic crisis, accounts for almost all of the increase in the overall budget from last year.
While there were no questions from the board about the operating budget, that wasn’t the case when it came time to consider the students’ version. At the core of the concerns was a student proposed increase in what is known as the SS&A fee, from the current $7.09 cents per credit to $8 per credit. The maximum allowed by the state is $8.60
“I’m very, very troubled by this increase,” said Trustee Shoubee Liaw.
Trustee Phil Barrett said he felt there was little fiscal restraint shown in the students’ budget. “I look through the 2009-10 and the 2010-11 allocations and across the board, everything is up,” Barrett said. “This budget does not show that hard choices were made.”
In the end, the budget failed on a 2-2 vote with Liaw and Barrett voting against and Board Chair Roger Olstad and Trustee Gidget Terpstra voting for the motion. Trustee Jerry Smith was absent. However, following the meeting, it was clear that Liaw, Olstad and Terpstra were under the impression that the vote had only denied the rate increase from $7.09 to $8, not the entire student budget that is based on the fee.
That budget pays for many things often thought of as integral to the college, including the athletics teams, the Student Leadership Center, the Women's Center & Multicultural Center, the Parent-Child Center, the Writing & Learning Studio, tutors, Phi Theta Kappa, instrumental music, choral ensembles, opera and musical productions, the Ebbtide student newspaper and other items.
College officials and state assistant attorney general Kristin Byrd quickly discussed setting a special meeting to consider the student budget issue. That meeting will be at 2:30 p.m., Monday, June 28, in the Board Room at the college. The meeting details were finalized late Thursday, June 24 and noticed Friday, June 25.
The special meeting agenda has just one item, action on the Student Services and Activities budget, and trustees will be presented with three options approved late Friday afternoon by student parliament. Those options outline approaches at the current $7.09 per credit fee, one at a $7.65 per credit fee and one with the fee at $8 per credit. The total budget amounts for the options range from $1 million to $1.2 million.