OSU childcare, sustainability reps both work out fee requests
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 16:02
Board members questioned excesses in the presented budgets at the Student and Incidental Fees Committee budget review session yesterday.
The Student Sustainability Initiative and Our Little Village presented their student fee requests for the 2014 fiscal year. The committee tentatively passed budgets for both, a $2.14 fee per student per term for the SSI and a $4.23 fee for Our Little Village, requesting changes before the final hearing on Feb. 12.
Brian Laird, co-director of the Student Sustainability Initiative, proposed a student fee of $6.33 per student, amounting to a total of $444,873. The fee would be $5.38 less than this year and would go towards funding a professional staff position for the OSU Sustainability Center. The money would also allow more hours for student employees during finals weeks and breaks in the academic year.
Laird noted the large amount in the SSI’s budget, about $1,115,000. Board members questioned the fund balance because the money had accumulated over three years. Most of the money comes from the “green fee” paid by students to fund sustainable practices and green energy options on campus.
“We want to see the justification of the green fee,” said Brad Alvarez, committee chair. “I have trouble not seeing the excess working capital not offsetting student fees.”
Because most of the money comes from the green fee, Laird said the SSI would refrain from spending the money in other areas like employee wages. Laird continued by saying the committee and the SSI planned for the fund balance to grow to offer more flexibility with larger projects.
Of the projects Laird mentioned, one would add photovoltaic solar panels to the recreation sports tennis pavilion, amounting to a $350,000 cost. A second project would fund a solar-powered hot water feature in the Dixon Recreation Center.
After taking a recess, the committee decided to allot a fall, winter and spring fee of $2.14 to the SSI. Alvarez also requested the group start with the photovoltaic project at the tennis pavilion before starting the lengthier hot water innovation project at Dixon. The committee also requested a detailed job description for the professional SSI staff position.
Michelle Marie, chair of the student parent advisory board, presented Our Little Village’s budget. The proposal had three decision packages. The first was to fund operating costs for the childcare centers on campus and to pay for office assistance. The second would go toward increasing the subsidy of childcare, hopefully bringing childcare costs under a rough benchmark of 10 percent of a student parent’s income. The third would fund a paid board chair for Our Little Village, a position currently held by Marie.
Currently Our Little Village has childcare centers in Dixon Recreation Center and the Valley Library. Parents who drop off their children cannot leave those buildings and Marie noted the possibility of “satellite” centers in different classroom buildings to allow parents the opportunity to attend class while their children are supervised. Student parents make up about 14 percent of OSU’s student population, Marie said.
“Student parents are an elusive group,” Marie said. “As enrollment increases, we need to make sure the drop-off sites can meet student needs.”
Though the group only received $4.23 per student per term, board members said they could still raise the number to accommodate the decision packaged by the final hearing.
“Some items are still unclear in the budget,” said board member Madison Parker. “We are leaning towards approving the decision packages, but we want more clear budget forms before then.”
The committee will hold an open hearing to finalize budgets on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. Video playback of the meetings can be found on KBVR’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/KBVR26.
Jack Lammers, news editor
On Twitter @jacklammers