Money and Business

Governors budget would eliminate Career Technical Education funding

FFA in danger of losing funding

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Funding for the Future Farmers of America and other Career Technical Education programs is in jeopardy.

Money that funds the program was cut from Governor Jerry Brown's current proposed budget for the state. Funding for the popular program would be cut if the state passes the budget as is.

Agriculture is the number one industry in California.

"It kind of left me speechless when I first found out about it," says Edgar Hernandez, a senior and member of the FFA. I would not have been able to go to the place I have been if it were not for the FFA."

The career education program has given him the chance to learn how to raise livestock, treat agriculture fields properly, and attend leadership conferences. 

"There is so much FFA has taught me I would have never learned in a classroom."

Hernandez shares a similar similar story with the more than 85,000 California high schoolers who are members. 

Under Governor Brown's new state budget, $48 million in career technical education funds would go entirely to the community college system, cutting out $15 million that go towards the FFA and similar programs. 

"Throughout all these leadership conferences and competitions, I have been able to find my future career," says Adriana Arias, a junior at Santa Maria High School. "Which is going into the agriculture business. Santa Maria is a very agriculture based city, and it's vital to our economy, and student success for the future to keep it going," she says. 

Mark DeBernardi went through the program, and is now is an FFA advisor at Santa Maria High School. 

"It just keeps kids involved, and expands their interests," he says. "I've really seen it make a difference in the lives of kids and give them direction."

The district says local program are not in danger of losing funding, but the state level competitions would be left behind. Students, and teachers alike, hope that does not happen. 

"It really honestly hurts," says Hernandez. 

Education subcommittees will begin voting on the proposals on June 23. 

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