The semester may be coming to an end, but the Student Government Association is still working on their biggest task–– passing next year’s budget.
Due to low enrollment at the university, there were less student activity funds for the senate to work with than the previous semester. An emergency meeting to balance the budget took place on March 15, and the senate worked with entities such as the Board of Student Organizations, Gorham Events Board and Portland Events Board to make cuts and create a workable budget for the rest of the semester.
Now their task is to create a budget for next year that works for all entities and groups with far less money. The senate isn’t expecting more student activity funds to come in next semester and is budgeting for $276,940 compared to last year’s budget of $337,694.
“This is a very conservative budget,” said former finance committee chair Tyler Boothby. “This budget was created so that we don’t have to have another one of those emergency meetings next year.”
When the 42nd Student Senate held their last meeting on April 18 and turned responsibilities over to the new senators of the 43rd senate, Boothby recommended that they pass the budget as is, saying that there had been a lot of eyes on the project, and they believed it was the best option.
As the current budget recommendation stands, BSO’s budget will be cut by $16,800, PEB by $13,601, and GEB by $33,805. The cuts to GEB would be a 66 percent budget reduction, leaving the board $17,175 to provide weekly programming for students all year.
Incoming GEB executive chair Chelsea Tibbetts sent a document to members of the senate titled “The Case for GEB,” which cited leadership development, reduction of costs and community engagement over the past two years as reasons to reconsider changing the budget recommendation. The letter calls for an alternative cut of 12 to 18 percent of the budget, which would leave the board with around $45,000 for the year.
“All GEB programs are almost exclusively for entertainment and community building purposes, and that contributes greatly to the sense of community and activity on the Gorham campus,” Tibbetts wrote. “[The cuts] would have a substantial and long-lasting negative impact on the development and growth of GEB.”
Tibbetts wrote that such a large cut would result in a significant relapse in the group, as members have worked hard and evolved the board over the past three years. She wrote that with so little funding, GEB would be unable to provide as high quality events as students have come to expect and that they would have to start from scratch.
When the budget was brought before the senate last week, it was tabled immediately at the request of senate treasurer Jason Blanco.
“There are some other things we need to review before we pass this budget,” said Blanco. “We may not be doing the students justice by passing this budget.”
The budget recommendations will be on the senate’s agenda again for their meeting this Friday.