Mar 262012
 
Authors: Sarah Fenton

After a month of negotiations The Student Fee Review Board passed a $3.69 fee increase for the Adult Learner and Veteran Services office Monday night –– reduced from the office’s original $5.02 increase request.

In a move not typical of the board, SFRB requested multiple budget proposals from ALVS before settling on the approved fee increase.

SFRB requested ALVS submit three different budget proposals. The original was a $5.02 increase, the second was a $3.69 increase and the third was a requested 3 cent increase.

In general, the board said while the first requested increase had the potential to significantly aid ALVS operations, it was too big a burden to pass along to students. In comparison, the board felt that a 3 cent increase, was a “treading water” plan and would not be enough to maintain ALVS operations.

The board said the $3.69 increase acted as a fitting compromise between the two previous options.
According to ALVS Director Jan Rastall, despite the fact that this process has been work intensive, the amount of time the board spent looking at all the different options for the office impressed her.

“I think it’s really good that students want to know what’s going on in our office, I think that’s really important,” Rastall said. “I think it’s raised the visibility of our office and I think that is a really positive outcome to this.”

After considering the pros and cons to each budget, the board voted for the second wave option of $3.69 with the final count being 9-0-6.

In general terms, this settlement will mean a reduction in programming and no funding to pay the current volunteer tutors. It will instead go to supporting student parent outreach programs and scholarship programs as well as maintaining current ALVS operations.

For SFRB Chair and ASCSU Vice President Rachel Roberson it was a priority to take a lot of time looking at each fee area. A long process, which included significant scrutiny and weeks of negotiations between the board and fee areas.

“Every board member knew after they reviewed that budget that it was the option that was most fiscally responsible for students,” Roberson said.

Roberson also said the fact that they had a month to sift through the details guaranteed them an option everyone could be happy about.

“I think it had to do with the amount of time that we took. Taking a month to seek student feedback and really analyze different versions of the budget is going to create a unanimous or cohesive vote with the board,” she added.

For the board’s ALVS liaison and senior engineering major Steve Johnson, the compromise was well worth the hard work and long hours it took to hammer out the deal.

“I am very happy with it. They scrutinized us, asked for better options and between the input of the board and circumstances outside of that, things worked out,” Johnson said. “I think that this is a very good success for the office and a very good success for SFRB.”

In the end, according to Johnson, it’s the students who will benefit from the fee increase –– students like triple major Irene Chaves, who said the ALVS office was invaluable to her college career.

“I am an adult learner and a veteran and the office helped me a lot,” Chaves said. “We feel out of place a lot of times when we could be mentors and we could be leaders, but because of that age gap sometimes it can be difficult.”

“I am a triple major, I am involved in three different committees and the office really helped me get involved,” she said. “I think it is an important program.”

As the deadline approaches to put all budgets together in one proposal (called the long bill), Roberson said she feels that, at this point in the game, decisions regarding the 16 student fee funded areas need to be made quickly.

“This year they are moving a little bit slower, but I think that is because they are being extremely thorough with their questions,” said Lynn Johnson the chief financial officer for CSU.

ASCSU Beat Reporter Sarah Fenton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Approved Student Fee Increases for fiscal year 2013
SLiCE: Approved 21 cent fee increase, $15.85 total fee
School of the Arts: Approved $1.46 fee increase, $10.58 total fee
ALVS: Approved $3.69 fee increase, $6.60 total fee

Other Fee Funded areas heard at this week’s SFRB meeting
Student Legal Services: 16 cent increase requested
Women and Gender Advocacy Center: 12 cent increase requested,
Athletics: No increase requested

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