ASG considers current state of economy in planning budget

Keith Cousins

The Saddleback College Associated Student Government is currently finalizing next year’s budget. This budget will feature a number of changes from the previous year’s. These changes are not due to the economic recession, but rather as a precaution if the economic crisis continues.

“Honestly, a lot of the changes aren’t due to budget cuts,” said Dilan Swift, 20, Director of Public Relations ICC. “Our district is fiscally responsible, but we are setting aside a lot more funds for scholarships and reserve, which means that we are allocating less to programs and clubs.”

ASG Treasurer Travis Fuller discussed some of the other changes in next year’s budget.

“Our budget has had to evolve at the request of the Board of Trustees. For example, this year, we are formulating our budget in the spring rather than the summer in order to expedite the process and make things increasingly transparent,” Fuller said.

“In addition, we have had to assign concrete percentages to our reserves, [and] to our scholarship donations, as well as our Senatorial Contingency. These alterations have somewhat hampered our ability to fund the overwhelming amount of allocation requests that we have received, but we nevertheless feel that these safeguards will benefit student government and by extension, its students, in the long run.”

When approving proposals for funds, ASG focuses mainly on assuring that these funds go towards programs that benefit students at Saddleback College. However, ASG does not fund actual school programs, such as equipment for individual classes.

One new extra-curricular activity that ASG has agreed to fund is a series of science-related lectures, which will be open to both students and the general public. The plan is to have many experts in various scientific fields give lectures, including a Nobel Prize winner.

“We started with a little over a million dollars, and we have to allocate a certain percentage to different things,” Swift said. “There are around 300 requests for funds, so it is a very daunting task.”

ASG Senator Oliver Burchill echoed Swift’s comments on the difficulty and responsibility of allocating these resources.

“The over-arching concern throughout this entire process is the welfare of our constituency, and in no way do we underestimate the gravity of these responsibilities,” Burchill said.

“More than anything else, we ask for the community’s understanding in these difficult times, and we offer a solemn promise that we will manage our current budget to the utmost of our capabilities.”

A final budget will be released in June, and the process of finalizing the budget will involve several five-hour meetings, at which members will debate and then vote on how to allocate next year’s funds.

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