ASB Budget Breakdown: Here’s How Your Student Government Decides to Spend Your Money
May 7, 2018
From t-shirts to dances, ASB members organize and allocate funds for all student-related activities on campus. They work meticulously to make sure students have the opportunity to make the most of their high school experience and that every cent is accounted for.
The purpose of this article is to clarify the inner workings of ASB and its finances. We aim to shed light on the process of spending money, to break down the 2016-2017 year budget, and to explain the reason for the annual Disneyland leadership field trip.
ASB Financial Process: How Money is Spent
When any club, event, student or class wants to spend its funds or raise funds, it must go through a meticulous approval process. ASB requires that every dollar, quarter, and penny be accounted for before approving any fundraising. When a club or class wants to spend that money, they need even more information.
Funds that are to be used must also have a goal directly relating to the standards outlined in the ASB guidelines. Chapter 14 of the ASB Handbook titled “Allowable and Questionable Expenses” clarifies what students and clubs are allowed to buy.
“The principal or school administrator and ASB advisers are responsible for ensuring that ASB funds are used to purchase goods and services that promote the students’ general welfare, morale, and educational experiences. In general, ASB expenses that meet these criteria are allowable if they are directly linked to the students’ benefit.”
Examples of a prohibited purchase include donations to other organizations such as charity, except in special circumstances and donations to families or students in need. Because student body funds are meant to benefit students as a group and not individuals, they must be directly related to helping the school or a club.
In order to ensure these guidelines are strictly followed, the school’s financial technician, Jocelyn South, is the accounting tech responsible for this. She makes sure that every cent is accounted for at all times as the school can be audited at any time, and ASB is also subject to this process. In their weekly meetings, they go over everything from Hoopcoming to “Support our troops” T-shirts.
South is in charge of making sure every expense is clear to anybody who needs to look at it. If South wants to transfer any amount of money, she must fill out a transfer form, which she presents to the ASB class in their business meetings. The form has spots for four signatures, and at least two must be from school administrators such as a vice principal or principal.
This step is put in place as extra accountability for every student dollar that is spent.
“Not a thing that I get done goes through without at least having two, three, four, maybe even five, eyes take a look at it first,” South said.
Every Tuesday, ASB sets aside time to look over all of the requests from clubs, dances and more. Any cost brought up from these meetings not only goes through the critique of South but every ASB council member. Each member has the opportunity to interject at any time.
“I read off every bill that we need to pass and the amount and who it’s going to — who it’s from,” junior Brooklynn Deal, who serves as ASB treasurer, said.
The other members in ASB then ask questions and try their best to find ways to save money. This is especially evident in clubs, with the class even trying “help them find [things] for a cheaper price,” Deal said.
To make money, ASB has various fundraisers throughout the year. One, in particular, stands out.
“The biggest fundraiser that we do is our ASB stickers at the beginning of the year,” South said.
Each sticker is worth about two dollars. All the discounts secured for various popular places in and around Carlsbad give the sticker the most value to the students which as a result raises the most money for student events later in the year.
A common misconception that many students have is that ASB makes a significant profit off of the sale of spirit wear. The jackets, pants, shirts, and PJs are not a clever way to earn more money; they are made for the students of Sage Creek to represent their school and show off their spirit. The profit is minimal and the quality is maximized, so students can get both comfortable and durable clothes at the best price ASB can offer.
All of these precautions and tedious checks are put in place to make sure that the school’s accounts are accurate and that any audits from the state and district are properly received. If there were any problems — whether it be on purpose or on accident — they could result in staff losing their jobs, so they need to be very meticulous and take all money they deal with very seriously.
General Budget Breakdown
The ASB budget is broken down into sections, the sections based on each type of activity and are made up of a collection of different transactions. The dances, for example, are broken up by its expenses, ranging from paying for location, food, security, decorations, entertainment, etc.
When ASB plans its dances, they project the number of sales they will receive, then they decide how much more money should go into the preparation of each dance in order to maximize the ticket sales. ASB wants each dance to be as profitable and enjoyable for everyone involved as possible. They almost always gain some sort of profit after each year’s sequence of dances, which only allows for bigger and better dances each year.
Let’s do a brief comparison on the (rough) prices of the different dances: the Endless Summer dance was $4,000, Fall Formal was $9,000, Hoopcoming was $10,000 and Prom was as much of all of those combined, coming to $24,500.
Now, some students may think, “Why would prom be so much? Only two classes attend instead of four.”
That may be true, but prom is supposed to be the biggest night of a high school teenager’s life, so ASB directs a large portion of its attention and funds towards prom. Prom venues must have their deposits submitted and secured a year in advance, while decorations, entertainment, and music need to be better than any other dances. In total, the dances raise a little north of $48,000 altogether.
*Our reporters were unable to obtain the statistics on the entire budget and spending of ASB outside of the dances and Disneyland
Annual Disneyland Leadership Trip
Some students have expressed confusion about the annual Youth Education Series (Y.E.S.) leadership trip to Disneyland. For one reason or another, some students feel uncomfortable with the use of ASB funds for a trip to Disneyland. In actuality, there are a lot of requirements that must be met in order for a school organization to go on a trip.
The total cost of the training day was $2,400 for 20 students, which amounts to $120 per student. This year, there are 22 students who are in ASB, but two couldn’t make it to the trip, so Disney promptly refunded those two tickets. The chaperones for the trip all were able to go for free—stressing yet again, the importance of ASB money benefitting solely the students of the school.
The students were matched up, with the specific intention to make new connections and bonds with each other.
“We’re not usually with people that we’d typically hang out with,” Deal said.
This is an intentional facet of the trip, to allow for them to step out of their comfort zones.
ASB Vice President Brad Nelson, the man behind the morning announcements, had an awesome experience at Disneyland.
“It wasn’t a typical day at Disneyland. It wasn’t about rides,” Nelson said, “I went on … only three rides while there. We were broken up into two separate groups and you walk all around the park and see different values that Walt Disney incorporated into his park. He had all these pieces across Main Street that contained names of all the people that contributed to his success, we were able to learn about his leadership values and what it takes to make big things happen in a team setting.”
According to Nelson, Walt Disney’s leadership Y.E.S. programs have led to a closer relationship among the representatives of ASB.
“It was a big bonding experience for ASB. We wake up early and take the bus up. We eat all of our meals with our groups, we really got to know some of the other members in ASB — which has helped, especially recently, when certain members are having a harder time — we can understand why they aren’t able to get some of their work done,” Nelson described, “We can pick up the slack for them, all while learning more about them in the process. If it wasn’t for the trip, I wouldn’t have been able to get half as much done as I do. I wouldn’t know the other members as much as I know them now. the experience brought us all closer together.”
Nelson believes that there is a misconception that some students enroll in the class just for this trip. He pointed out the complete turnaround of the ASB team’s mentality over the last few years. He believes the current advisor, Danny Kung, has been a large reason for the change.
“If you haven’t noticed, I feel like there has been a significant change in the vibe on campus, just with school spirit in general,” Nelson said, “That’s ASB’s job, to promote school spirit on campus. The first couple years, ASB didn’t do a good job of that. The students did not have a lot of pride in our campus. You can say what you want…small school, no football team, only two classes…whatever. The reality was, the first couple years of ASB didn’t set up our school to have as much fun. Since then, our committee is taking steps to add more events after school that brings the campus together. And I think the students are finally starting to be proud of being a Bobcat. I would credit a lot of that success to Coach Kung. He has done a great job of transitioning our class from what it was, to what it is now.”
Nelson assured us of his commitment to ASB as a whole, as well as the importance of student representation.
“High school is what students make of it. ASB is only a class of 20 students, we do make mistakes sometimes, as anyone does. So by all means, if anyone has any problems with ASB as a whole, please talk to us. We will bring it to attention at our formal meetings. If we aren’t listening to our students … then we aren’t doing our job.”