The Associated Students of Madison Student Services Finance Committee learned Monday how to interpret the 2009-10 auxiliary budget for the Student Activity Center and University Health Services budgets.

Assistant vice chancellor for the Department of Planning and Analysis at the University of Wisconsin, William Richner, conducted a presentation to clarify the documents.

“These budgets are entirely different than the ones we are used to,” SSFC Chair Kurt Gosselin said. “The average student couldn’t make heads or tails of it.”

Gosselin said the presentation was important to SSFC as well as the student body because it allows members to fully understand and later make informed recommendations on the budgets.

According to Gosselin, the committee would not be as effective without having learned the basics of reading income statements and solvency plans.

“We don’t have any control over the budgets, but we do get to review them and provide recommendations to the chancellor,” Gosselin added.

Although all the SSFC meetings require mandatory attendance, Gosselin said he strongly encouraged representatives to be present for this specific meeting, emphasizing the importance of budget reading skills.

SSFC Rep. Brendon Williams agreed the presentation was both important and effective.

“These budgets are significantly different from the [general student services fees] budgets because they are a little more financially heavy,” Williams said. “In order to understand it, you have to learn the lingo.”

Williams said it would be impractical to take apart the budgets piece by piece and added he now has a better overall knowledge of budget reading and a more narrowed focus on what to look out for when reading them.

Through the remainder of February, the SSFC will hold weekly budget meetings to better understand the Child Care Tuition Assistance Program budget, the Recreational Sports budget and the Union budget.

According to Gosselin, the committee will discuss changes to the budgets and present their recommendations to Chancellor Biddy Martin during the second half of March.

The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12 in the Student Activity Center.