The Student Services Finance Committee met Monday for a presentation on the budget of F. H. King, a sustainable agriculture-focused student organization.
The student-run agriculture collective is supported by segregated fees, mainly to fund the wage expenses for the salaried F. H. King board of directors and some general and programming expenses, according to their presentation.
F. H. King Finance Director Bobby Joehnk said during the meeting that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple events and programs were canceled, leaving some members of the board of directors without a job to do.
F. H. King saw significant decreases in their spending during the 2019-20 fiscal year because of canceled events and surplus funds due to COVID-19, according to the expense review submitted to the SSFC.
During the 2019-20 fiscal year, F. H. King returned almost 30% of their budget. Over two-thirds of their budget is dedicated to their salaried positions, though 80% of the returned budget was salary funds.
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Because of last year’s decreased spending and programming, F. H. King is asking for a budget increase specifically for their paid programming and education director positions, rent money and projects such as on-campus hydroponic growing towers.
Programming Director Keagan Schlosser and Education Director Sophia Webber saw larger cuts in their paid work hours last year due to COVID-19 restrictions on events and programming. The pandemic impacted their ability to hold many programmed events, including a summer internship program, according to University of Wisconsin News.
In the presentation to SSFC, Webber said the current eight-hour workweek is largely spent doing due diligence to the farm and setting up weekly programming. This leaves little time to account for events and programs that the organization has been able to hold again.
Nonetheless, F. H. King was able to produce $11,200 worth of food from their half-acre Eagle Heights farm and serve approximately 800 students, according to their SSFC eligibility presentation.
The SSFC will vote on whether or not to approve F. H. King’s budget at a later meeting. SSFC will meet again Thursday, Nov. 4.