Ag Education Programs in Indiana’s High Schools May be Negatively Impacted by Budget Bill

The Indiana Statehouse, downtown Indianapolis.

As your Indiana lawmakers put together a budget bill to fund the state for the next two years, that bill in its current form may end up having a negative impact on ag education in Indiana’s high schools.
“I would argue what they’ve essentially said is we’re going to deprioritize Career Technical Education in the state of Indiana,” says Bruce Kettler, President and CEO of the AgriBusiness Council of Indiana.
He says the Indiana Senate recently revised House Bill 1001 to eliminate that funding previously set aside for Career Technical Education (CTE) continue to be used for that purpose in Indiana’s schools. That funding also included ag education..
“What this change did was state that education dollars to local school systems no longer have to be specifically used for Career Technical Education purposes. Ag education in the state of Indiana falls under that area,” according to Kettler. “Folks need to understand that they aren’t going to prioritize agriculture education or Career Technical Education anymore. They want to use it for potentially other purposes.”
Kettler says school administrators could decide to reallocate those funds away from ag education or cut ag programs altogether.
“Particularly in agriculture, we hear from our members all the time that one of the biggest challenges in their businesses right now is labor. Well, we have schools training young people in these careers—and specifically in agriculture. There are a lot of great job opportunities that they can go right into and do very well. That’s where I have a concern about funding for our Career Technical Education getting cut—specifically for ag education,” says Kettler.
Bruce Kettler, President and CEO of the Agribusiness Council of Indiana. Photo: C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today.

Kettler adds that this could also have a domino effect by negatively impacting Indiana FFA.
“Keep in mind that a student can’t be an FFA member and get the skills and training and leadership development through FFA unless they are enrolled in ag education classes,” according to Kettler. “If schools start getting away from or doing away with ag education programs in our local schools, that could drastically affect the FFA organization as well because of a student’s not in an ag education class, they can’t be an FFA member either.”
Kettler says there’s still time for Indiana lawmakers to make changes to House Bill 1001—before the session ends on April 29.
“Call your legislators. Call your state representative and your state senator both and ask them to restore the Career Technical Education or CTE funding line,” says Kettler. “You can do it through an email. You can call each of your legislators and say, ‘Restore that CTE funding line back into the budget,’ so that we can produce students with the skillsets that are needed to make those ag and technical jobs a reality.”
Click HERE to locate your state lawmakers and find their contact information.

Click BELOW to hear C.J. Miller’s news report for Hoosier Ag Today.

Click BELOW to hear the FULL PODCAST interview with Bruce Kettler, President and CEO of the AgriBusiness Council of Indiana, as he discusses how the recent revision to the state’s budget bill could negatively impact ag education in Indiana’s high schools.


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