Dear Teachers,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all of your hard 
work and dedication for the students in our program. 

As you know, the State is facing a serious budget shortfall in the current 
fiscal year. As the General Assembly began their session, we were facing 
the possibility of a 10% budget reduction. This included a complete 
reduction of all food processing funds.

Today I am pleased to tell you that the amended FY09 budget has been 
signed and we have only received a total reduction of 3%. While this is a 
sizeable reduction, we are truly blessed to have the support that we have 
from the Governor and the General Assembly. 

I have reviewed all aspects of our budget and the identified reductions in 
the General Assembly?s budget. After consultation with the Region 
Coordinators, we have developed a plan to implement the reductions.  The 
following is a summary of the reductions.

· The Food Processing budget is being reduced by $50,000. The grant for 
food processing is being reduced by approximately 16% for your local 
system if your system receives this grant.

· The Extended Day budget is being reduced by $136,502. The grant for 
extended day is being reduced by 6.842% or 13 hours for each teacher 
receiving this grant.

·The Young Farmer budget is being reduced by $225,086. The grant for the 
young farmer program is being reduced by 13 hours of extended day for each 
young farmer teacher.

I realize that no one wants to experience a reduction in their pay. The 
Region Coordinators, FFA Executive Secretary and I have taken one furlough 
day since January and we did not receive the annual cost of living pay 
raise that the teachers received this year. While this is unpleasant it is 
much better than not having a job at all. We must keep this situation in 
perspective. Today thousands of people in our state are not as fortunate 
as we are.

Thank you again for the great job that you do. Please rest assured that we 
are working as hard as we can to minimize any future reductions to any 
aspect of our program.

John K. Wilkinson
Program Manager, Agricultural Education
Georgia Department of Education
1752 Twin Towers East
Atlanta, GA  30334
Phone:  404.657.8311
Fax:  404.656.5911
email:  [log in to unmask]