The discussion regarding the proposal to eliminate the vocational agriculture programs at Bryan High School was tabled.
Monday’s school board meeting vice president of the board, Douglas Wunneburger, presented the plan to cut the program due to financial reasons.
“Although the program has a long history, our current budget situation makes it impossible for us to continue this program,” Wunneburger said.
The program currently has four full-time teachers that cover the greenhouses and horticulture programs, animal husbandry and crop production and Ag programs in leadership, communications and business. The superintendent said 350 students participate in the programs each year.
When board member John Street asked why a successful and popular program should be closed, Wunneburger said there is no longer a demand.
“Agriculture is not a large enough enterprise in Bryan for us to continue to subsidize the training of laborers for that industry. I’m amazed the program has hung on this long,” Wunneburger said.
A few business owners and members of the community spoke up regarding the idea of closing the programs. John Deer manager of Coufal-Prator Equipment said the program teaches students the basic principles of business and has provided his company with entry-level employees they hired for summer help. However, owner of Hair’s School of Hair Design George Hair didn’t see why they were supporting a program for agriculture when there is not a training program for his students at that level.
The closing of the program would also affect local business owners as well.
“We run a small family owned farmed with a few head of Angus steer cattle. We’ve raised quite a few show steer, including a grand champion at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. With kids not needing show projects through the school, our sales will go down. It’s a simple supply and demand equation,”Cailee Gilbreth said.
The board will readdress the proposal in October.