One Marion County High School Cuts Agriculture Program
But, students taking agriculture classes at West Port High School say it's more like a lifestyle. And, some Marion County School Board Members are determined to make sure agriculture classes don't go anywhere without a fight.
Unlike most seniors in high school, Katrina Schipski has a good hold on the career she wants to pursue for the rest of her life. She says eventually she'd like to have her own farm, but for now she just wants to graduate as a member of the Future Farmers of America.
"It could help me get into college," said Schipski. "If we don't have Ag, we won't have FFA, .and I can't get a scholarship into college if I don't have FFA."
But some believe it goes even further than that.
"This provides kids another avenue of getting out into the real world," said Bobby James, Marion County School Board Member. "They teach the work ethic. They teach honor and integrity. They teach them how to speak. They teach them how to be in charge of things."
Only 19 of the 34 students, who are enrolled this year, are eligible because of state law that requires students to pass the FCAT.
"You can't put a teacher in there if there is only five or six students who are interested that doesn't generate enough funding for the entire program," said Kevin Christian, Marion County Schools spokesperson.
But school board members are vowing to fight to keep the agriculture program in pace.
"It's too valuable," said Steve Herring, Marion County School Board Member. "It's too valuable from the communities standpoint. It's too valuable for the kids."
Katrina hopes despite competition for resources from other programs and budget cuts, she'll be able to continue doing what she loves.
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