* Stu Ellis at the Decatur Herald and Review writes about Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed elimination of the $1.8 million funding line for agriculture education…
The elimination of that line item in his proposed budget apparently was made because his staff could see no need for agricultural education, despite the recommendation by the State Board of Education that the line item be raised to $3 million in the next fiscal year. So called “shared sacrifice” might diminish $1.8 million by several thousand, but it should not lead to total elimination.
The $1.8 million line item stimulates over $11.8 million in net earnings of agriculture education students in their yearly, work-based learning and agri-science projects. It generates another $2.1 million in partial matches from a statewide partnership. It spawns $1.7. million in funds and volunteer hours generated for local school vocational-agriculture programs. It pays for curriculum development that is used by over 50 percent of vocational agriculture teachers nationally. And it provides a pipeline for students to enter agricultural careers.
Elimination of the funds would mean deterioration of the agriculture education network which provides the structure to one of the top vocational programs in the nation. Data collection of programs, teacher information and student achievement will be lost. Professional education opportunities for vocational-agriculture teachers would be eliminated. Program growth would stagnate and would no longer provide employees for an important part of the Illinois economy.
The loss of the agriculture education line item would eliminate $620,000 in incentive grants that go to 321 local agriculture programs taught by 381 teachers at the secondary level. That money provides local programs with funds to meet goals for success and continuation of their program. While a local vocational agriculture program may not close in a school district due to the loss of the incentive grants, it would negatively affect program quality and the number of programs would deteriorate and decline.
* This will have a big impact on local FFA programs…
First-year Flanagan-Cornell FFA Advisor Jessica Collins has a reason to be nervous about the upcoming annual auction on March 7. That’s because Gov. Bruce Rauner recently submitted his proposal for the 2016 fiscal budget for Illinois.
Among the proposed budget cuts is the elimination of crucial agricultural education funding. When the Flanagan-Cornell FFA program says it relies on the success of these auctions to fund future activities, nothing could be more truthful.
* From the Twitters…
* The Question: Caption?