The Student Services Finance Committee heard budget proposals for the 2006-07 fiscal year from the MultiCultural Student Coalition and Adventure Learning Programs Thursday.

The $444,000 budget proposed by MCSC was their lowest proposal in four years, including a 10 percent cut from last year.

Some of the proposed cuts to the budget included fringes, childcare fees, office supplies, postage, telephone, printing, travel and computer software and hardware.

Along with the cuts, the MCSC offered budget increases in the organization's salaries, advertising, equipment rental, rent and program supplies.

Since last year, the MCSC has expanded their work force from 24 employees to 28 this year. The group requires each to work a minimum of 12 hours per week.

In recent years, the salaries of the MCSC staff members have routinely been raised with each new budget.

"We have to move administrative staff to $8.99 an hour," MCSC Administrative Staff member Tamara Gonzales said. "So that amounts to the small increase that went up in the year."

The MCSC also put forward an increase in advertising to continue providing an insert to the Madison Observer every month.

MCSC members cited the publication as being preferable because of relatively low advertising rates compared to other local newspapers.

Faced with a laborious array of questions from committee members after the budget presentation, MCSC Executive Staff member Bradinn French said it was difficult to hypothetically choose between cuts in staff positions or hours.

"[They] asked a lot of questions such as cutting positions or hours," he said. "Those are tough questions — kind of like picking between your favorite kids."

Also at the meeting, ALPs proposed a budget which included a 1.82 percent increase from last year, stemming from rises in salary, travel and program-supply costs.

"[The] largest supply increase occurs in salaries," ALPs Coordinator Maren Bean said. Adding the increase would "put in effect recommended wage increases by SSFC."

ALPs Coordinator Noah Annes said he was confident in the budget presentation and felt that increases were well justified.

"We spent a lot of time preparing [the new budget] and we feel that we justified the small increases that we did request," he said.

The SSFC, by fulfilling a two-thirds vote requirement, decided to reconsider the Diversity Education Program's budget proposal and approved it with a few minor alterations.

Passing the budget proposal with a vote of eight to two, SSFC representatives amended the DEP's proposal by striking a program-assistant position from the salary page — cutting $14,855 fom the total budget.

The SSFC did not formally cut the PA position from the DEP, but reduced the position's funding.

The Tenant Resource Center's budget was also approved by the SSFC with minimal cuts, suffering only minor adjustments to the budget's "miscellaneous line items."

SSFC Chair Rachelle Stone, commended the committee for asking productive questions and efficiently proceeding through the proposals.

"The process is a lot smoother than the beginning," she said. "I think the committee members' questions are a lot more organized and it seems they're more in tuned with what's going on with the budget process."