By: Matt Patton, CATA Executive Director
2021-22 California State Education Budget
The most recent report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) predicts that Proposition 98 could see a surplus for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2021. The predicted abundance comes as a great surprise in light of the current economic downturn in California. Proposition 98 is the formula that determines funding for the K-12 and community college systems. The LAO pointed out the unpredictability that COVID-19 brings to calculating revenue and cautioned that predictions “will be wrong to some extent” (LAO, 2020). K-12 and community colleges receive approximately 40% of the General Fund. The proposed state budget released in January will be watched with guarded optimism.
Assembly Bill 10
Three Democratic Assembly members introduced legislation on Monday that would require public school students to physically return to the classroom this spring after public health officials deem it safe. AB 10 was introduced as emergency legislation requiring that the bill be acted upon soon and implemented immediately if passed. The bill would require a 2/3 vote. Authors of the bill include: Assembly Members Phil Ting D-San Francisco of the Assembly Budget Committee; Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee; and Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance. This bill has not yet been electronically posted, and more information will follow as it becomes available.
Central Mother Loade Region Certification Grant
Thanks to the continued hard work and dedication of Dustin Sperling (Delta College), Cheryl Reece (Galt High School) and Dick Piersma (Hilmar High School), the certification work started with the CRAECPC grant will continue. A $925,000 K-12 Strong Workforce Grant was awarded to the Agricultural Pathway Certification Program. These funds will allow the great work started on industry-supported certifications to continue. Our brethren in the Central Region have carried the weight of this project for far too long. It is time that the ag teaching community from across the state join the cause in building a system that provides industry-recognized certifications for our students.
A Budget Change Proposal (BCP) to increase the Agriculture Incentive Grant (AIG) allocation will be submitted for the 2021-22 state budget. The BCP will initially introduced to the California Department of Education and will then be forwarded to the Department of Finance if approved. Last year a similar BCP stalled in April as the budget focus changed due to COVID.
Blue Corduroy Classic
California FFA Foundation will once again host the Blue Corduroy Classic to benefit the California FFA. The Blue Corduroy Classic, an online auction, is scheduled for January 31, 2021. In its third year, Blue Corduroy Classic benefits over 95,000 FFA students across California. This sale has generated nearly $30,000 in donations that have offset the cost of leadership conferences, career development events and many other activities for the young people that wear the Blue and Gold jackets.
Donations will be auctioned off with the help of Show Circuit Online Sales. Last year’s auction reached thousands of supporters across the nation. This year’s event will be promoted through all of California FFA’s social media platforms, the California FFA Foundation E-Newsletters and the newly designed website. Donors will receive recognition and thanks on all platforms before and after the event.
In recent Regional meetings, the topic of the CalAgPlate has been a topic of conversation. The facts of the program are as follows:
- California FFA gets approximately $215,000 annually from the CalAgPlate program.
- California FFA gets 85% of the available funds from the CalAgPlate program.
- All of the CalAgPlate funds that come to CA FFA goes to student programs. None of the money allocated to CA FFA is used for salaries, overhead, or administrative expenses.
- Since the inception of the program, CA FFA has invested $273,000 in the program and received $1.5 million in revenue.
- The current number of CalAgPlates on the road is approximately 7,000.
Lots of great ideas were shared at regional meetings and the discussion is essential for building the program. California agricultural teachers are the ones that did the groundwork to initiate the program, and we will continue to be the ones that sustain it. If every ag teacher gave away one plate annually, the program would grow exponentially. Eventually, we would reach the point where all leadership conferences were provided to students free of charge. The more plates that are on the road, the lower the cost for student services. Please encourage one person you know to fill out a form and mail it to the California FFA Center.
During the upcoming winter break, take some time to reconnect with family and friends. We have all endured the most surreal year in recent history. Take some time in December to recharge and take inventory of the positive things in your life. Ag teachers are resilient and adaptable by nature, and these skills have definitely been called upon this year. Spring is traditionally a busy time in our profession and all indications are that this one will be more so. The winter break is an opportunity to take respite before we embark on 2021.
Matt Patton, Executive Director, California Agricultural Teachers’ Assn., firstname.lastname@example.org, 209 744-1605
For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/