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  History and Funding of Illinois Ag Education Funding  
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History of Incentive Funding Grant      
In 1986, the Illinois General Assembly passed Public Act 84-1452 to revitalize agricultural education in Illinois. To support the Act, an appropriation of funds for the improvement of education in and about agriculture, K-adult, was incorporated into the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) annual budget. The Career Development and Preparation Division of ISBE administers the funds with advisement from the Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE) which is appointed by the Governor. The funds are allocated to meet the objectives of the Illinois Plan for Agricultural Education and Illinois First Through Quality Agricultural Education: A Strategic Plan for Illinois Agricultural Education. The allocation supports local program improvement, curriculum development, teacher inservice, field support services, program coordination, pilot projects, and other important initiatives. All local education agencies (LEAs) offering approvable programs in agricultural education at the secondary level are eligible to apply for incentive grants. (An approvable program must be sequential, offering at least one orientation and one preparation-level course.) Program approval may be received by submitting appropriate descriptive information to the Career Development and Preparation Division through the appropriate Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) Program Advisor.

Contingent on the availability of funds, an amount will be allocated for incentive grants to fund local agricultural education program improvement efforts. These funds will flow to local LEAs through the ISBE IWAS electronic grant management system. The application is designed to allow districts to assess their agricultural education program offerings as they relate to the quality indicators outlined in the Illinois First Through Quality Agricultural Education (The Plan) document. These funds were appropriated strictly as supplemental funds and are not to supplant resources currently used from local, regional, state or federal sources.

The application is a measure of programmatic components currently in place. It is recommended that supplemental funds be used to update and improve the agricultural education program, not to maintain the status quo. Of particular concern to ISBE and ICAE is the need to expand and improve the content areas of agriscience and agribusiness. Production agriculture continues to be important, but should not be the extent of the agricultural education program.

It is important to note that it is not the intent of anyone to suggest that high-quality components and programs do not exist. The intent is to assist local programs in assessing their strengths and to provide additional resources to enhance total program quality. Because each district will qualify for varying amounts based upon their quality indicators, there is potential for some districts to receive less and other districts to receive more.

If you need additional information regarding the Agricultural Education Incentive Funding Grant, please contact the Illinois State Board of Education Agricultural Education Consultant, at

Historical Dates & Legislation of ILCAE, ICAE, and the Agricultural Education Line Item      

December 13, 1984 Agricultural Education meeting - ILCAE beginning  (100+ attended)
March 7, 1985 ILCAE was formed - 1st organizational meeting  (25 attended)
August 13, 1985          ILCAE Constitution adopted
November 26, 1985    1st Annual Meeting of the ILCAE
December 1985          First Draft of The Ag Ed Plan “Building Illinois through Quality Agricultural
September 19, 1986     Governor Thompson signed SB 255 into law Public Act 84-1452 creating ICAE
December 16, 1986     2nd Annual Meeting of the ILCAE
April 19, 1987              ICAE was organized
February 1987              The Ag Ed Plan “Building Illinois through Quality Agricultural Education”  was adopted
November 14, 1987    3rd Annual Meeting of the ILCAE
May 19, 1988              1st Annual meeting ICAE
September 20, 1988    Agricultural Education Symposium - Designing the Future for Ag Education
December 16, 1988    4th Annual Meeting of the ILCAE
April 17, 1989              Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) coordinator first day
January 10, 2006 House Bill 4986 passed Public Act 84-1452. 
January 1, 2017 Senate Bill 2975 creates the Teacher Three Circle Grant.
August 13, 2019 Senate Bill 1498 creates the Preservice Internship Program
January 1, 2022 Senate Bill 1624 and House Bill 3218 allowing agriculture science courses to meet university admission in science and electives categories.

Related Legislation      

Senate Bill 255 passed and was signed into law on September 19, 1986, creating Public Act 84-1452 and Chapter 122, Section 2-3.80 of the Illinois School Code stating: "The General Assembly recognizes that agriculture is the most basic and singularly important industry in the state, that agriculture is of central importance to the welfare and economic stability of the state, and that the maintenance of this vital industry requires a continued source of trained and qualified individuals for employment in agriculture and agribusiness." SB255 thereby established a comprehensive education program in agriculture in the public school system - pre-K through adult education - and required that the State Board of Education make this program readily available to school districts.

House Bill 4986 passed Public Act 84-1452, which amended the Illinois School Code, on January 20, 2006, stating: Provides that a school district that offers a secondary agricultural education program that is eligible for State and federal funding must ensure that, at a minimum, the following are available to its secondary agricultural education students: (1) an instructional sequence of courses approved by the State Board of Education; (2) a State and nationally affiliated FFA chapter that is integral to instruction and is not treated as an extracurricular activity; and (3) a mechanism for ensuring the involvement of all secondary agricultural education students in formal, supervised, agricultural-experience activities and programs.

Senate Bill 2975 passed and was signed into law effective January 1, 2017, creating Public Act 99-826 and Section 2-3.80b of the Illinois School Code. This legislation “created an agriculture education teacher grant program to fund personal services costs for agriculture education teachers in school districts. The grants shall be used for the purpose of assisting school districts with paying for personal services costs of agriculture education teachers.” This grant is known as the Teacher Three Circle Grant. 

Senate Bill 1498 passed and was signed into law effective August 13, 2019, creating Public Act 101-554 and Section 2-3.80d of the Illinois School Code. By this new law, the “State Board of Education must, in consultation with the Board of Higher Education, develop and Agricultural Education Pre-Service Teacher Internship Program, beginning at the secondary education level, for pre-service teaching students.” This program is known as the Pre-Service Internship Program.

Senate Bill 1624 and House Bill 3218 passed and were signed into law effective January 1, 2022, creating Public Act 102-0403. This Public Act amended various Acts relating to the governance of public universities in Illinois. With respect to the high school coursework that a person must satisfactorily complete for university admission, adds agricultural sciences as a course option for the science category and agricultural education as a course option for the electives category. 

House Bill 3178 passed and was signed into law, creating Public Act 102-0463. This Act amended ILCS 5/2-3/80 and effectively changes the composition of the Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education.

  AgEd Line Item History
The State of Illinois budgets an allocation for PreK-20 Agricultural Education in its State Board of Education budget each year. Below is the yearly funding.
  Year  Allocation
  1987 $48,500
  1988 $48,500
  1989 $1,000,000
  1990 $1,040,000
  1991 $1,040,000
  1992 $1,040,000
  1993 $1,040,000
  1994 $1,081,600
  1995 $1,081,600
  1996 $1,181,600
  1997 $1,299,000
  1998 $1,429,700
  1999 $1,500,000
  2000 $2,000,000
  2001 $2,000,000
  2002 $1,950,000
  2003 $1,881,200
  2004 $1,881,200
  2005 $1,881,200
  2006 $2,381,200
  2007 $2,881,200
  2008 $2,881,200
  2009 $3,381,200
  2010 $3,043,100
  2011 $1,947,600
  2012 $1,800,000
  2013 $1,800,000
  2014 $1,800,000
  2015 $1,759,900
  2016 $1,800,000
  2017 $1,800,000
  2018 $5,000,000
  2019 $5,000,000
  2020 $5,000,000
  2021 $5,000,000
  2022 $7,050,000
  2023 $7,050,000
  2024 $7,050,000



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