The agricultural education program at Woodford County Middle School will continue after parents and students objected earlier this month to cutting the teaching position for those classes.
Principal Tracy Bruno told the school’s decision-making council Monday that eliminating the agricultural-education position is no longer under consideration. Bruno reaffirmed that stance to Scott Travis, a member of the Kentucky Farm Bureau’s board of directors who attended the meeting.
Patty Perry expressed relief that the program will continue. Perry, a member of the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission, had told the council earlier that nearly 37 percent of the employed population in the county “is employed in some type of ag industry.”
“Agriculture in this community is so very important,” Perry said after the council adjourned. “We need to be able to prepare our young kids to continue on with agriculture in the county.”
Earlier this month, the middle school had considered cutting two staffing positions because of a projected enrollment decline in the 2017-18 school year. One of those positions was the teacher for agricultural education.
But Bruno said the position was no longer under consideration for elimination because people had expressed support for it. More than 330 people had signed an online change.org petition seeking to save the program.
“The people of Woodford County came out in great numbers and spoke out and said it’s something they didn’t want cut, so we took that into consideration,” Bruno said after the meeting.
Woodford Middle is one of eight middle school ag-ed programs in the state, according to the Kentucky Department of Education. There are 143 high school ag-ed programs across Kentucky.
The decision-making council could not come to a consensus on which positions to cut. Janet Bauer, a council member who is a teacher, said she cannot agree to eliminate a position in science, social studies, math or language arts. That means the eight-member council will meet again next week to take a vote on the matter, as required by the council’s bylaws.