Call to Action! Contact your legislators today and ask them to save the agriculture education line item.
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Save the Ag Ed Line Item

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner proposed eliminating funding for the agriculture education line item in his annual budget address. The Governor has stated several times that he supports agriculture education, but believes that special line items should be eliminated so that local school districts may make their own decisions about how to spend the dollars they are allocated. The State Board of Education recommends funding be set at $3.0 million and the line item is currently funded at the level of $1.8 million. 

What Does the Ag Ed Line Item Do?

It funds important agriculture education initiatives including providing grants based on program performance, curriculum resources, teacher development and support through the FCAE Program, and mini-grants to improve technology in classrooms. The total direct and indirect value of the agriculture education line item to local school districts is valued at over $5,000. 

What is the Current State of the Ag Ed Line Item?

The Governor’s budget is just a proposed budget. The Illinois General Assembly must appropriate funding for the K-12 budget for the coming fiscal year. The Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, the Illinois FFA, the Illinois Leadership Council on Agriculture Education and other agriculture industry groups are working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to restore the Agriculture Education Line Item. 

Budget discussions will continue over the next couple of months. Budget hearings are expected to be conducted in both the Illinois Senate and the Illinois House over the next month.

What Can I Do?

Contact your senator or representative today and ask them to fund the Ag Ed line item. Tell them the importance of this funding source to agriculture and the state of Illinois. 

Not sure who your legislators are or how to contact them? Click on the "Lookup My Legislator" button below. You will be directed to the State Board of Elections website. Click on the Mobile/Lite Version on the right and then enter your address.

Lookup My Legislator

Support Senate Bill 2975

Another piece of legislation critical to agriculture education is Senate Bill (SB) 2975. This bill would create a grant program to assist school districts in funding 50% of the costs associated with extended contracts for their agriculture education teachers. It would also deem agriculture education as an area of critical need in Illinois which would allow agriculture education teachers to access federal loan relief benefits.

Why is SB 2975 important?

  • In 2015, 65 programs had agriculture education openings and yet Illinois universities graduated only 18 Ag Education majors and only 13 of those graduates went on to teach.
  • This leads to educators with alternative licenses teaching Ag Education. Last year, 73 of the 320 Ag Education programs in the State of Illinois had a teacher with an alternative license teaching agriculture courses. 
  • The main reason agriculture education graduates do not teach is because the salary and benefits are not comparable to other agriculture industry job openings.
  • Extended contracts are necessary to make agriculture education competitive with other job options and because teachers are expected to work with their students year round through the FFA organization and supervised work experience programs.
SB 2975 has passed the Senate and moved on to the House of Representatives. Call your representative today and ask him or her to vote yes on SB 2975. Click on the "Lookup My Legislator" button above to find your representative and contact information. You will be directed to the State Board of Elections website. Click on the Mobile/Lite Version on the right and then enter your address.
For more information and resources regarding the Agriculture Education Line Item and SB 2975 visit our website. Click here.
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