Negotiations may increase club funds

By Joseph Altman Jr. and Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A series of compromises may lead to a win-win situation for the ASUA Bookstore and student government.

T.J. Trujillo, president of Associated Students of the UA, and Frank Farias, the director of the ASUA Bookstore, are finalizing an agreement that would give ASUA an additional $160,000 to $190,000 from the bookstore's profits this year and would set a new policy to determine future profit sharing, Trujillo said. ASUA has already received $200,000 from the bookstore.

An unofficial profit-sharing policy began in October 1937 when ASUA purchased the bookstore from the Arizona Board of Regents, Trujillo said. Since 1988, the bookstore has guaranteed this $200,000, plus one-third of its profit to ASUA, Farias said.

As part of the new contract being negotiated, Farias said he asked that the bookstore be allowed to subtract inventory costs before figuring its annual profit. These costs had not been subtracted in the past, but were covered by a portion of the profits after money was given to ASUA, he said.

"I'm trying to secure the financial stability of the bookstore," Farias said. "We serve the entire student body, and to do this we need to be able to reinvest the money that is generated (by the bookstore)."

Since this would allow less money to be shared with ASUA, Trujillo said he asked that in return, the bookstore discontinue payments to the Department of Student Programs, which would increase the profit that could be shared with ASUA.

The bookstore has been asked to make these payments since 1989 "to help fund shortfalls when student affairs was not getting enough money from the university," Farias said.

But, he said, the amount the bookstore was asked to contribute grew from about $4,000 to this year's $168,267.

"We want to acknowledge their need, but make sure to protect our interests first and can't jeopardize the bookstore financially," he said.

The agreement would also give both parties more input in the other's operations, Trujillo said. Farias would need to approve all ASUA expenditures over $10,000 and a procedure would be created for ASUA to appeal if they were unhappy with a specific bookstore expenditure, he said.

Farias said any agreement between the bookstore and ASUA would need to be reevaluated continuously to make sure that everyone involved could function financially without compromising the bookstore.

This year, the additional money from the bookstore, which was not included in the student government's annual budget, will be used to fund "one-time projects" rather than programs that would carry on from year to year, Trujillo said.

"We didn't want to fund programs with one-time funds, because if in the future the bookstore has a bad year, they would have no funding," he said.

He said he has asked representatives from various ASUA divisions to make "wish lists" of their funding priorities. This committee would then make recommendations to Trujillo, who would advise the ASUA budgetary committee in its final decision.

Josh Becker, the vice president of clubs and organizations, said he will request more club funding.

"I think our priority should be to give the money back to the students, who can do projects with it instead of trying to do too much ourselves," he said.

Becker said he will ask for at least $15,000, so the total amount given to club funding would equal last year's club funding budget of $75,000. Club funding was given only $60,000 this year and the appropriations board has already allocated about $35,000 to clubs to cover initial and special funding requests, he said.

Trujillo said the salary of ASUA's new adviser Jim Drnek will also be paid with the money from the bookstore. ASUA is still negotiating with the Department of Student Programs to determine Drnek's salary and how the cost will be divided between the two departments, he said.

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