Ag Today May 17, 2017

MAY 16, 2017 5:42 PM

Agriculture teachers balk at what governor proposes to do with $15 million in budget

BY JOHN HOLLAND

jholland@modbee.com

High school agriculture teachers object to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed shift of $15 million for technical career training.

The plan for the fiscal year starting July 1 would put this money under workforce programs at community colleges, added to the $33 million they already were getting in recent years.

The shift would mean less money for in-service training of new high school teachers and for Future Farmers of America, which is closely tied to ag education. It also would reduce spending on “academies” at the secondary level for farming and other fields.

And the proposal would end a program that reviews whether ag classes can count toward admission to the University of California and California State University systems.

“It’s been huge for agriculture,” said Jim Aschwanden, executive director of the California Agricultural Teachers Association. “Over half of our courses are now recognized by UC and CSU.”

The proposal was in Brown’s initial 2017-18 budget, released in January. It remained in the revision announced last week despite efforts by ag education advocates to reverse it.