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]