By Jacob Beltran/@JBfromSA
During the university’s first open campus-wide budget forum March 20, President Cynthia Teniente-Matson announced the formation of a University Resources Commission to establish priority funding recommendations for A&M-San Antonio.
“The intent is to create a shared governance group at a higher level that will work with me and others,” Matson said.
The commission proposes nine members appointed by the president and one non-voting chair Jennifer Skiver, interim VP for business affairs and chief financial officer.
The advisory group will propose a diverse university representation including one person from faculty senate, the university library, Student Government Association, student affairs, academic affairs, and staff council.
Luis Rodriguez said Matson set April 10 as the deadline for the commission’s membership formation.
The commission will establish a regular meeting schedule throughout the academic year.
During the budget forum, Matson and Skiver’s presentation noted the commission has a heavy input in stages of the budgeting process.
Major responsibilities of the commission include developing a clear understanding of the university’s financial picture and budget process that incorporates all funding sources.
Another goal is to make budgeting procedures more transparent to faculty, staff and students.
The new process includes a lengthier four-step process, with the university review commission involved in three of the stages.
Budget analyst Luis Rodriguez said in a March 27 phone interview the new budget process places more accountability in the areas of vice presidents and associate vice presidents.
“We’re putting a little bit more responsibility on vice presidents and associate vice presidents, and adding another layer to look at the budget,” Rodriguez said
He added that a form of distributing the budget for everyone to see is still in the works.
“Once it’s done, Dr. Matson has the final approval on everything,” Rodriguez said. “It’ll be posted for everybody to see.”
During the forum, Skiver offered a glance at the budget for the current fiscal year which ends in August.
Skiver said a tuition revenue bond debt of $2,637,238 remains for the Madla Building and that the Pell Grant for financial aid is still awarded through A&M-Kingsville, despite the university’s independent accreditation.
She added that Eric Cooper, associate vice president for enrollment management, is working on a process for A&M-San Antonio to award financial aid.
As the university works with the legislative appropriations request on downward expansion, Matson said the university is asking for $11 million for the next two years.
The funds are allocated for faculty, staff, infrastructure, and student success.
In response to this request, Matson said the university needs to recruit 1,974 students to equal the same amount in formula funding. That includes designated tuition and fees.
“I feel comfortable with downward expansion that even if we didn’t get a new building that we could make accommodations,” she said.
During a question and answer session, many audience members asked about university finances and procedures. Matson announced the commission will create a merit increase proposal for faculty and staff for the the FY18-19 biennium cycle.
Matson concluded the forum with a reminder of what’s important: transparency, shared governance, and an improved budgeting process.