What will the Proposal Change?
While local superintendents make final decisions on program changes and budget recommendations, here are some enhancements that would be possible should the CTE ballot proposal be approved by voters:
More Career Classes
The CTE Consortium could add 2-4 additional CTE classes for students to explore during high school. Currently, students in St. Joseph County have fewer CTE class choices as those in the five surrounding counties (see "More Information"). CTE classes that have been requested by students and other community members include:
- Food Services/Culinary
- Law Enforcement
- Modern Manufacturing: Mechatronics, Machining, Robotics, & Welding
- Teacher Academy
Work-Based Learning (Co-op) Classes
Giving students on-the-job experience helps them decide if the career choice they have made is right for them and gives them a head start on their career. When resources for work-based learning (WBL) were cut a decade ago, these opportunities were greatly reduced. Work-based learning helps build bridges between schools and local employers. More personnel are needed to help local employers “grow our own” employees, which would attract new businesses and keep more local businesses and jobs in the County. Increased funds would allow the CTE Consortium to add 1.5 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs) to coordinate more WBL opportunities for CTE students and help local schools with non-CTE students.
New state laws mandate schools to provide more career prep curriculum for students in grades K-12. CTE can assist local districts in meeting these requirements through cost-effective, countywide Career Prep programs, taking advantage of the relationships that are built with local businesses. Quality Career Prep programs give students relevance to their education, improving motivation, attendance, and graduation rates. Career Prep programs help students learn “soft skills” and how to create resumes, cover letters, and portfolios. Increased funding would include 1.5 FTEs to provide career prep to all students in grades 6-12.
Local District Budgets
Local school district budgets continue to be tight, which has led to cuts and underfunded programs. Increased funding through a CTE millage would improve CTE programming without tapping into local district funds and allow districts to use general education funds for other important educational purposes. Local districts general education funds currently pay for half of the CTE Consortium budget. With a 1.0 CTE millage, local districts would still pay into the Consortium, but costs would be reduced and reimbursements for expenses such as transportation and career prep are possible.
Nearly 75% of students in CTE classes earned college dual enrollment credits through their CTE class at no cost to them or their families last year. Dual enrollment helps jumpstart students into careers and gives them the confidence to go to college or a post-secondary training. Improved CTE funding will allow CTE to continue to offer these college credits through Glen Oaks Community College and Southwestern Michigan College.
While safety always comes first in CTE classrooms, more teacher aides would increase student safety and learning opportunities in many CTE classes. A CTE millage will put up to 8 additional classroom aides in CTE classes where safety is of the greatest concern.
A larger CTE budget will enable more students to take part in CTE student organizations such as FFA, DECA, BPA, HOSA and SkillsUSA. Graduated CTE students tell us their participation in these organizations have made a significant impact on their life and careers. Currently, many students depend on fundraisers, family, or other donations to take part in CTE organizations’ activities and competitions that are integral to their learning and a quality CTE experience. Increased funding would assure that all CTE students can participate in FFA, DECA, BPA, HOSA, MITES and SkillsUSA no matter their family economic situation.
Better tools and equipment, current technology, and more materials and resources will lead to better classroom experiences for students. More funding also will improve the effectiveness and the efficiency of teaching and learning in the classroom. Having a teaching coach in CTE classrooms led by industry professionals will make the best use of students’ time and districts’ resources. An adequate budget will provide for ISD instructional coaches in CTE classrooms, especially those where teachers come directly from industry.
More funding will increase:
- “Soft skills” coaching for students;
- More state funding for programming;
- Entrepreneurship workshops for students;
- Assisting students with post-high school transitions;
- More up-to-date technology, equipment, and tools in CTE classrooms.