By Phillip Lentsch–
While SGA’s 2016-17 budget is slightly smaller than last year, Student Activities Board is seeing a decrease in their budget while Engage Lead Serve Board sees an increase.
SGA’s nearly $1.2 million budget represents a $620 cutback from last year. The most notable appropriation changes from previous years have been the sizable appropriation of funds from various council budgets, projects, programming and tuition remission.
The 2016-17 compensation report for tuition remission and stipends shows for the 2016 year a total of $212,880 – an 11 percent jump from the previous year’s $191,700.
This year’s report reflected a 150 percent increase in the compensation allotted to ELSB’s directors as compared to the previous year ($23,800 to $59,700). SAB’s stipends have decreased 14 percent this year ($89,200 to $76,500) in order to lessen the gap of payment between the two programs.
“In past years, our team members have been paid significantly less than SAB’s,” said ELSB Executive Director Amanda Allen. “With the increase in tuition remission given to our programming directors and associate directors, we can hopefully incentivize more people to join ELSB when they see that there isn’t as large of a discrepancy in compensation.”
According to appropriations chair Vishnu Tirumala, recruitment was not the only argument for boosting ELSB’s payment.
“There were a lot of reasons that we decided to appropriate more money into ELSB’s remission and less into SAB’s,” said Tirumala. “While we do want an equal share of students to join ELSB and SAB, our committee also realized that there was a lot of money that could be used elsewhere, such as for council budgets for U of L’s law or medical schools. Because of this, we figured it would be best to cut into SAB’s large budget and try to increase parity amongst various categories within SGA.”
Tirumala’s logic holds true: council budgets have seen a 13 percent increase in funding, ELSB leadership gained more in compensation and the projects and programming budget fell by four percent. While SAB’s total budget still overshadows ELSB’s by $341,500 ($426,500 compared to $85,000), the hope for SGA has been to chip away at this inconsistency and spread the wealth.
“Really, we want this change to serve as way for SGA to entice more people to sign up for multiple programs and departments, rather than having an outpouring of students just join SAB,” said SGA Director of Communications Jacob Abrahamson.
Overall, the budget’s grand total has mainly stayed consistent within the last two years. While the individual council and programming funds may be appropriated and reallocated, SGA stands to have a similar year to 2015 in regards to comprehensive spending.