Monday, July 06, 2009

Urgent!!! Legislative Alert - Action Required

Effects of a Zero Budget


Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a separate line ($38.5M) in the ISBE budget as is the Agricultural Education line item ($3.38M). Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) is a different state agency with its own budget ($300M). All are in danger of being zeroed out.

Effects of a loss of the CTE line item:
· Local schools would lose all Perkins and CTEI (program improvement) grants that currently flow through EFE systems. Some regions these dollars are flowed to local schools for teacher salaries.
· Credit generation dollars which are generated from the students in your CTE classes that, in most cases, go back directly to schools would also be lost. Many of these funds also support CTE teacher salaries at the local level. Given challenging times for local finances, if local superintendents and school boards must replace these funds with local funds, you can bet, no matter how successful your local program may be, it will be reviewed and considered as a possible cut.
· All state funding for all Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) would be lost. (FFA, FCCLA, BPA, HOSA, etc.)
· The existence of the EFE System and the Area Career Centers would be threatened.
· All federal dollars for maintenance of effort would be lost. The funding needs to be equal to the previous year in order to receive this funding. Not only does this apply to the CTE line ($38.5M), but also the funds the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) receives related to CTE ($12M). If either CTE or ICCB (or both) does not receive the level of funds for maintenance of effort, the federal dollars will be lost.

Negative impact of losing CTE:
· The program impact would eliminate 18,038 Secondary CTE courses and a corresponding number of Postsecondary CTE courses.
· 345,511 secondary students would lose access to these programs in approximately 700 secondary schools and 26 Area Career Centers
· Approximately 3000 secondary education teachers would be eliminated.
· The negative impact upon the workforce would be substantial since approximately 46% or 158,935 students annually participate in some type of community on-the-job training.
· Approximately 200 regional and local CTE education administrators would also be eliminated.

Agricultural Education Line Item ($3,381,200):
38% Teacher & Program Services
37% Incentive Funding Grants
21% Curriculum Resources and Professional Development Projects
4% Administration

Negative impact at different levels in terms of numbers:
· Elementary level - this would affect 468,065 students, 28,403 teachers, 95+ county coordinators and 2,796 volunteers.
· Secondary level - this would affect nearly 24,977 students, 320 programs with 398+ teachers.
· Postsecondary level - this would affect nearly 58,000 students at four major universities (10+ faculty and staff) and twenty four community colleges (129+ faculty and staff)

Quite simply this would sever the connection between the state and its local schools and programs.

Agricultural Education Line Item:

How many programs would close?
The Incentive Funding Grants ($1,068,200) go directly to 320 local agriculture programs affecting 398 teachers just at the secondary level.
These funds provide local programs a way to meet critical needs for their program relative to curriculum and program improvement. This is critical to the success and continuation of agriculture programs.
It is difficult to predict how many programs would close, but it is safe to say that without these funds, all 320 programs would be affected. It would negatively affect program quality and the number of programs would deteriorate and decline over time.
The deterioration of the local programs as well as the elimination of the line item will impact postsecondary teacher educator programs as well through incentive funding ($55,000) and the Growing Agriculture Science Teachers grants ($500,000) and by cutting off the secondary programs that feed the postsecondary level. I am fairly confident that the number of universities providing teacher training for agriculture teachers would decrease.

How many staff/people employed would this affect?
If this line were to disappear it would eliminate many people and positions across the state.
i. 20 people within ISBE projects (FCAE, CRP, Student Organization) including an executive director position, project directors, field staff, and support staff. Possibly one ISBE consultant if all CTE funds disappeared.
ii. 95 people who are county coordinators (mostly part-time) for agricultural literacy at the elementary level.

What services would no longer be available to teachers and students?
Student organizations
i. By impacting the local agriculture programs across the state, it would also negatively impact the $10 million dollars generated in local communities through student Supervised Agricultural Education projects.
ii. Funds support a coordinated effort for post-secondary student organizations in the state. The elimination of the line item would endanger the existence of the Post Secondary Agricultural Student (PAS) organization. If all CTE funds were to disappear it would also threaten the existence of student organizations in all the CTE areas.
iii. If student organizations were to be greatly impacted, the loss of the student leadership components would be greatly impacted as well as the employability skills students currently receive through those organizations.

Teacher and Program Services
i. The FCAE staff serves all levels of educators in Illinois. Loss of the implementation mechanism for agricultural education and the connection to the local school classroom. Without this line item, this would disappear.
1. Part of the high success rate of the Ag Ed model is having a staff to be able to implement the curriculum improvements which are necessary to keep pace with state initiatives. (i.e. Agricultural Education curriculum, MyCEART, CSAT, etc.)
2. Data collection of programs, teacher information, and student achievement would be lost.
3. Professional development opportunities specific to agricultural education throughout the year would be lost.
4. Teacher mentoring opportunities that occur with field staff providing technical support and curriculum assistance would also be lost. Staff is near the 100% mark of visiting every school with agricultural education and providing technical assistance and resources for teachers.
5. Program growth would stagnate and we would see a deterioration of programs over time.

Curriculum Resources and Professional Development projects
i. The loss of curriculum resources provided would bring a halt to the curriculum improvement projects furthering student achievement through the connections to academic concepts through hands-on learning as well as the ability to measure that achievement through he assistance provided (standards met) from CTE classes. Elimination of FCAE and CRP would affect all five CTE areas for curriculum improvement.
ii. The loss of professional development would affect every level of education in Illinois: elementary, secondary, and postsecondary. It would be safe to say this affects hundreds of teachers both agriculture specific and outside of agriculture (elementary).
iii. The Ag Literacy project and coordinators at the elementary level would be lost along with the matching dollars. The kits developed to teach kids about agricultural literacy topics would also disappear.

How does this affect matching dollars?
There are no federal matching dollars, but the funds in the line item are stretched by asking other agricultural organizations and school districts to provide matching funds for mutually beneficial projects/initiatives. Without the line item dollars as the major support, entire initiatives/projects would collapse.

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