By Stephen Barnett
By Stephen Barnett
More than half a million dollars of the money that students spend in the colleges’ bookstores goes to Riverside Community Colleges general fund, instead of directly benefiting students.
RCC administrators are playing by the rules set in Education 81676 when the budget for the academic year is created. An annual contractual agreement between Barnes & Noble and the college states 9-12 percent of the Bookstores net profit should go to programs benefiting RCC students.
Of the $876,612 total net profit in 2003-2004, the college spent $326,000 to help fund the RCC cafeteria and Tigers Den. An additional $30,682 was used to cover the costs of operating the Bookstore. According to the RCCD Monthly Financial Report the remaining $510,000 was put in the general operating fund of $104 million.
This general fund is known as Resource 1000. It funds the various faculty departments on campus, including faculty salaries, workers compensation and student services. Over a three-year period $1.8 million from student purchases at the Bookstore went into Resource 1000, according to the 2002-2005 Board of Trustees adopted budgets.”If RCC is getting a cut of our money from the books we buy I want to be assured that the money is benefiting me directly, not put into a fund to fill quotas for the faculty,” said Erik Staiger, a student at RCC “there just isn’t any way to guarantee it’s helping the students.”
There is a Bookstore committee being formed on RCC’s campus headed by Kathryn Brooks, an instructor at RCC. The committee’s focus is going to be convincing the Board of Trustees to relinquish control of this fund from Resource 1000 and allow the Bookstore committee to decide how it can best be used to benefit the students of RCC.
“I think the majority of the committee should be students, who are in a better position to decide what it is they want their money spent on,” Brooks said.
According to the recent 2004 RCC audit, Student Services is funded $12.7 million through the Resource 1000 of the general fund. Student Services is responsible for many of the events seen around the Riverside Campus. The college clubs will also receive their funding through Student Services.
“Even if students had control of the $510,000 going into Resource 1000, there is no guarantee it would benefit all of the students,” said Student Senator Mike Gasca ” I’d rather RCC not collect the net profit at all.”
Students at RCC will continue to purchase books from the RCC Bookstore. While behind the scenes $510,000 of the students’ money will be silently collected from the Bookstore and deposited at administrators’ discretion, following the guidelines of education code 81676.