Take Action Update – Ag Education in danger in Illinois

June 19, 2010 at 8:55 pm Leave a comment

Kathryn Shallenberger, an NYFEA member in Illinois, sent us an update on the Ag Education situation happening Illinois.

She said:

This is actually the “official” statement from our State FFA Office. To summarize, if they choose not to put funds into the Ag Edu Line Item then funding for High School Ag Classes, Ag in the Classroom, and organizations like FFA, PAS, & CFFA will be in danger. Many HS programs recieve a significant amount of they funding from this and will be in dire. Please read the following email for a detailed explanation…

Illinois FFA Center Message-6/18/2010

Friday, June 18, 2010


Agricultural Education Funding

HIGH PRIORITY

The State Legislature has passed a state budget providing funds to agencies as well as the Governor’s office.  ISBE Superintendent Koch’s public message indicated it is likely ISBE will be required to have an Emergency Fund for FY11 amounting to approximately $600 million additional out of an already tight budget.  Grant lines including Agricultural Education are likely one of the few places remaining to find such funds.  In the Governor’s earlier proposed budget, all grant lines added together were a little over $540 million.  If this is the case, you can see there would be little to no funds for grant lines in the ISBE budget including the Agricultural Education line item.

The impact of a $0 budget for the Agricultural Education line item is immeasurable.  All levels of Agricultural Education would be affected including the classroom students and teachers; student organizations (FFA & ILPAS/CFFA); efforts to promote the profession, the industry, and its related careers; and field and support staff (FCAE & AITC County Coordinators) who provide technical assistance and implementation programs directly to schools.  Not only would this affect the support, number, and quality of agriucltural education programs and teachers across the state, but this would have a dramatic effect on the agricultural industry in Illinois and the effort to increase the number of students/potential employees through this system not to mention agricultural literacy efforts.  If this line item is $0 and in today’s fiscal climate, it will be very difficult to re-establish this structure in the future.

It is important that you take action now by contacting the Governor’s office.  Communications should be sent to Julie Smith, Deputy Chief of Staff – Education.  Her e-mail is julie.smith@illinois.gov.  Ask that the Governor use his discretionary funds to fund the Agricultural Education line item at $3 million.  The other option is for the Governor to exempt ISBE from having to set funds aside for an emergency fund.

You should also contact Superintendent Christopher Koch at ISBE and ask him to fund the Agricultural Education line item at $3 million.  His e-mail address is statesup@isbe.net.

Agricultural Education’s voice must be heard and it must be heard now.  There is no time to waste.  You must make the contacts as soon as possible and let them know what you think.  Please make sure you keep all communications courteous and on a professional level.

Pass this information on to anyone you know who supports Agricultural Education and is willing to make the contacts.

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Entry filed under: Featured Articles, Featured Farmers.

Our second Farm Photo Friday! 2010 National Institute: Are You Ready?

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