Funding cuts hit ASP and ASB hard

Grant for ASSETs program 'sunsets'; student government funds from food service agreement ends

Kristen Lam, Editor-in-Chief

Sunsets are beautiful natural phenomena. The sunsets on the ASSETS grant and the ASB food service deal, however, are anything but.

Bear Creek’s five year grant for the ASSETS program “sunsetted” and expired at the end of last year. The reapplication for its $250,000 grant was denied due to financial restraints.

Not willing to give up, After School Program heads Lisa Deeter and Ren Pham-Peck contacted district board member Ralph Womack to see if a compromise could be reached. Deeter says they wrote a proposal budget with ranked priorities and presented it to the district board as part of its Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP).

Approved at the district meeting on June 24, LUSD’s LCAP includes $125,000 for Bear Creek’s After School Program. With only half of the budget ASSETS had, the ASP has carefully distributed its funds to the essentials for the 2014-2015 term.

Academic enrichment tutorials and heavily attended activities received priority funding. Students are still able to attend math tutorial for additional help at all levels three days a week, for example. The library also retains its extended hours.

“Bear Creek is the only school in the district with extended library hours, and I think people take it for granted,” Deeter said. “Not everyone has access to a computer at home. We believe it’s important to provide that.”

Thanks to ASP activity funding, the doors of Club Bruin are staying open and Glee Club can keep meeting. MESA President Suzanne Ornelas-Pelaez says that MESA hasn’t been affected by the budget cut.

“They [ASP] just told us to get more members and recruit more freshmen to get our funds,” Ornelas-Pelaez said.

Other aspects of the old ASSETS program simply aren’t affordable with ASP’s budget. Deeter says that the program couldn’t provide the $10,000 order of student planners this year. Field trips such as the POYSE UC Davis trip will have to find funding elsewhere.

“We have our needs accounted for, but we’ve had to let go of our wants,” Deeter said.

ASB’s food service deal sunset, on the other hand, resembles more of a deficit than a budget cut. This year Bear Creek’s student government lost their primary source of income – proceeds from the Student Store. In return for working the student store, ASB received about $1,700 to $2,500 per quarter.

Within a year, ASB would raise as much as $10,000 through the Student Store. Now without the food service deal, student government is struggling.

Student government advisor Michael Heberle says at its beginning, all of the Student Store’s profit went directly back to the students who ran it. Food service later took over its management and agreed to give ASB a dwindling percentage of the profit. That percentage was supposed to gradually shrink into nothing.

An investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration caused the deal to end prematurely. Ruling that food services cannot pay students for working in the cafeteria, the FDA cut off ASB’s main funding.

Heberle says that everything done by ASB will have to be scaled down. From Science Olympiad funding to sober grad night contributions to the rock climbing wall at international carnival, Heberle says there will be cuts.

“We lose money on carnival; we support clubs and help them fundraise,” Heberle said. “This year we don’t even know if we can afford DJs for rallies.”

With its backbone injured, the entire student body will be affected. Many programs on campus have lost their financial foundation due to ASB’s funding loss.

“I don’t think any amount of fundraising can make up for this deficit,” Heberle said. “We can’t do 15 carwashes to make up for it.”
Student government must follow all the same fundraising rules as all other clubs. Heberle says that ASB is currently looking into selling non-cafeteria items to raise funds.