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Logo | Illinois Agrivultural Education

FFA is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education..

The FFA Alumni Association supports and advocates for agricultural education and FFA through gifts of time, talent and financial resources..

The mission of the Illinois FFA Foundation is to provide financial support for the Illinois FFA. When you make a gift to the Illinois Foundation FFA, you are investing in the future of agriculture..

The Illinois Association of Vocation Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT) is a professional organization for agricultural teachers at all levels..

The Illinois Association of Community College Agriculture Instructors (IACCAI) is a statewide professional organization for postsecondary agriculture instructors. .

The Illinois Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization provides opportunities for individual growth, leadership and career preparation. .

The Illinois Farm Bureau & Affiliated Companies Youth Education in Agriculture program offers unique educational programs to Illinois youth in 4-H and FFA. .

The purpose of the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom Program is to encourage educators to incorporate more information about the agriculture, food, and natural resources system into daily lessons..
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Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE) is a state project administered through the Illinois State Board of Education that is tasked with improving and expanding agricultural education from pre-k through adult levels..

The Illinois Leadership Council for Agricultural Education (ILCAE) is a voluntary, grassroots agricultural industry group focused on the expansion and improvement of Agricultural Education programs at all levels..

The Illinois Committee for Agricultural Education (ICAE) is a 13-member committee established by legislation and appointed by the Governor to advise both the governor and state education agencies concerning Agricultural Education K-adult..

The Illinois State Board of Education is the state agency responsible for Pre-K through 12th grade education. Its primary mission is state program leadership, planning, approval, funding, and evaluation..

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will be an advocate for Illinois' agricultural industry and provide the necessary regulatory functions to benefit consumers, agricultural industry, and our natural resources.. provides information about the Agricultural Education profession and encourages students to consider a career as an agriculture teacher..

MyCAERT provides teachers with an integrated online system to Plan, Document, Deliver, and Assess Career and Technical Education instruction. .

Information Technology and Communication Services (ITCS) Instructional Materials provides agricultural education publications in a variety of formats. .

The Agricultural Experience Tracker is the premiere personalized online system for tracking experiences in agricultural education. .
FFA FFA Alumni IL FFA Foundation IAVAT IACCAI PAS IFB Youth Education IAITC FCAE ILCAE ICAE ISBE Illinois Department of Agriculture MyCAERT ITCS The AET

Listserv Messages

Harley Hepner
Illinois State Board of Education
Principal Consultant, Agricultural Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777
(217) 524-4832
(217) 782-0710 fax
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FY18 IFG Budget Increase, FY19 Budget Hearings, IFG Reminders, Elec Expend Report

Thursday, September 14, 2017

  1. FY18 IFG Budget Increase & System Changes
  2. ISBE Budget Hearings (FY19) and Input
  3. FY18 IFG Reminders (such as submitting amendments, checking application and payment status, FFA membership)
  4. Grant Electronic Expenditure Reporting Resources


FY18 IFG Budget Increase and System Changes (new)

With the recent legislated changes signed into law regarding school funding, it has become necessary to revise the original FY18 allocations and provide most districts a small increase in their allocation for the FY18 Agricultural Education Incentive Funding Grant (IFG).  One of the changes was the elimination of the Chicago Block Grant which impacted the total funds available in turn impacting allocations. Therefore, a new allocation has been loaded into your FY18 grant.  Districts should fall into one of the following four scenarios:

  1. For those districts who have submitted FY18 IFG applications and have been final approved (listed at the bottom of this (section), the district will need to submit an amendment to budget the additional funds.
  2. For those districts who have submitted a grant, but have not yet been final approved, then your grant will be reviewed and returned so all funds can be budgeted along with any other required changes from the review. 
  3. For those districts who have not yet submitted the FY18 grant, complete the application and submit it. 
  4. For those schools part of Chicago Public Schools receiving the IFG, you will need to

a.  Request access to the ‘Agricultural Education Incentive’ under Active Grants in IWAS-eGMS (new system).  CPS administrators (same administrators as on the previous system) are able to grant instructors the appropriate access when the instructor has made the request via IWAS/e-GMS (in System Listing at the bottom right, click on “Want to Signup for Other Systems”).  The new system to which you are requesting access is almost identical so should be familiar to you.  The system you used last year to access your grant is no longer in use for FY18 grants.  However, grants from previous years should still be available on the old system.  If you need additional assistance with accessing or completing the grant, see the webinars at this link under the Incentive Funding Grant (IFG) drop down menu or contact me (contact information above).

b.  Each eligible CPS school with an allocation will need to create a new application in this new system to access your CPS grants.  Complete the application and submit it.  Any applications created in the old system for FY18 will not carry over to the new system and can be deleted (FY18).

Schools that were part of the Chicago Block Grant (CBG) will now apply for any of the applicable Agricultural Education grants the same as any other district without the constraints of the CBG.

Those districts needing to submit amendments include:  Brooklyn, Elmwood, Hertiage, Hillsboro, Lena Winslow, Lexington, Orangeville, Salt Fork, St. Joseph Ogden, Stewardson Strasburg, and Vandalia.

Here is a link to the previous listserve with more specific information about completing the FY18 IFG budget application. Just as a reminder, the budget application is located on IWAS at complete and submit your budgets online by September 30, 2017 in order to secure a July 1, 2017 start date for the grant.   I strongly encourage the submission of the application by the above deadline so it does not further delay the arrival of funds and so that you are able to incur approvable expenses in this grant starting July 1, 2017.  If budget applications are returned after the September 30 deadline above, the start date of the grant will be the date the budget was submitted to ISBE and you will lose the ability to charge approvable expenses to the grant prior to that start date. 


ISBE Budget Hearings (FY19) and Input

The Illinois State Board of Education conducts hearings for public input to be considered in their FY19 budget recommendations.  This fall there are three of these public hearings statewide for the general public to participate and express their views.  The specific date, time, and location information (mid-October through mid-November) can be found at this link. If speaking at the meeting, a form will be posted here to complete and submit.  For those of you unable to attend the budget hearing, your voice can still be heard on ISBE budget issues such as the Ag Ed line item.   ISBE will also review comments sent to . Take advantage of the opportunity to make an impact and provide your input on topics that impact you, your classroom, your school and community.


FY18 IFG Reminders

Review of the budget applications is in process and many of you have already had your budget application reviewed and approved.  Budgets are being reviewed in the order they are received.  

To see the status of your budget click on the System Listing and on Agricultural Education Incentive and look in the column labeled “Status’ in the listing of grants next to this year’s grant.  If the status is Final Approved, then you budget has been approved.  If the status is Submitted to ISBE, then it is under review.  If the status says Returned for Changes, then you need to make revisions in the grant and re-submit.  Please re-submit in a timely manner (within a few days).  It is not recommended to spend funds until your budget is approved.

If your budget is returned for changes, follow the steps below (also in instructions) once you login in to IWAS, click on System Listing and then Ag Ed Incentive:

1. Click on the budget application listed (2017-2018).

2. Click on the „Review Checklist‟ button across the top menu bar. (Note: Remember to turn off the pop-up blocker so that both the review checklist and grant application will open. They should open in separate windows or tabs in your internet browser.)

3. Read the comments in the Review Checklist – especially the comments to the questions answered/labeled „No.‟   These are the revisions you need to make in your grant.

4. Unlock the appropriate pages in your grant using the „Page Lock Control.‟ Click on Expand and then click in the checkbox next to the ‘unlock section’ for the page(s) you wish to revise. Save the page. (Note: If you are having difficulty unlocking see „detailed information‟ in instructions indicating in some cases if the consistency check has been run with no errors, then you can unlock the application from the submit tab.)

5. Make the needed revisions on the unlocked pages remembering to save each revised page. (Note: If there is no save button at the bottom of the page you are trying to revise, then the page is locked and your changes will not be saved.)

6. Complete the process on the „Submit‟ page.



As budget applications are approved, situations change during the year and regarding your program needs relative to this grant.  Remember to submit an amendment if changes are needed based on your original approved budget.  Submit amendments by April 30 so budget requests can be approved before expenditures are made.  An amendment is in order if there is a change of $100 or greater in a budget line including if a specific budget item is deleted and/or new items are added to the budget description not previously approved.  Budget amendments are completed online in IWAS in a few quick steps.

1.   Access your online budget in IWAS.

2.   Prior to entering into the grant, click on the last approved budget application listed for the current fiscal year.

3.   Click on the “Create Amendment‟ button across the top menu bar.

4.   Unlock the application and/or appropriate pages using the “Page Lock Control.‟  Save the page.

5.   Make the needed revisions on each applicable grant page remembering to save each revised page.  

6.   Complete the process on the “Submit‟ page.

For more detailed assistance on examples of how to classify budget items in function and object codes, or how to submit an amendment or how to submit a returned amendment, please see the IFG Instructions Guide for guidance.  If you have further program questions, feel free to contact me at 217-524-4832 or contact the Helpdesk at 217-558-3600 for technical support.


How to check if your grant payment has been received

Many of you often ask if your state payment has been received by your district yet or not for the Incentive Funding Grant.  This is dependent upon your payment schedule.  This would also apply for any other state grant your district may receive.  You can now check the status of your payment for grants anywhere you have internet access.  The steps to find this information are listed below.

1.    Go to and click on the link at the top of the page titled ‘FRIS Inquiry.’ (in the drop down menu titled ‘System Quick Links.”

2.    In the ‘Search Info’ box, be sure the correct project or fiscal year is showing.  There is also a cell titled ‘Contains”.  Type in your school name or RCDT code and hit enter or click on ‘Display Projects’.  The RCDT code is the most reliable as some schools have similar names or go by a district number instead of a name.  Note:  RCDT code can be found either at the top of the IFG budget application or on the ‘System Listing’ page.  On the ‘System Listing’ page to the right of the grant titled ‘Agricultural Education Incentive’ there is an icon that looks like a head.  Click on it to see your IWAS account profile information which contains your district’s RCDT code.  You will need to enter it with no dashes or spaces between the numbers.

3.    Find program number 3235 (Agricultural Education) and click on the number which takes you to a project summary.

4.    Scroll down to the last category titled ‘Payment Schedule’ and click on the link ‘click for detail’.

5.    This screen will show you the date(s) your grant payment was scheduled to be paid, the amount scheduled to date (it may not be the total of your grant if you have payments scheduled in more than one month), the date it was vouchered at ISBE, and the date it was processed by the comptroller which means the funds have been sent to the district.  If there is no date in a particular column, then you know where your grant payment is waiting.  Districts may consider contacting the Comptroller's office.


FFA Membership Roster Reminder

For a school to have a state and nationally affiliated FFA Chapter in good standing, a student roster must be submitted.  This is an important time of year to remember to complete your initial FFA roster, in part, because it can have an impact on your incentive funding grant application next year.  Please be aware of your FFA membership status.  Failure to complete this process in a timely manner could jeopardize the student organization section of the grant and/or the approved program status of the school which in turn could impact the flow of grant funds to the school.

While you can add members next semester, your initial FFA roster should be submitted online on the National FFA site and the Illinois form and dues check must be sent to the Illinois FFA State Office postmarked by November 1 (specifics are in Mindy Bunselmeyers 09/08/17 message).  Do not delay and allow enough time to complete this task as in some districts there is a time delay in getting checks processed so it can be sent to the State FFA Office.

Please also be aware that according to the Illinois School Code, if you do not submit a FFA roster (have no members) in the 2017-18 school year, you will not be an approved program and as a result will lose IFG funding for the following year.  Please avoid this situation and make sure your roster has been submitted correctly and on time.  

If you have questions, contact the State FFA Office.


Grant Electronic Expenditure Reporting Resources

All state grants (including Agricultural Education) require quarterly expenditure reports be submitted.  This is typically completed by the district business or administrative office who has access to this system in IWAS.  Resources are available at this link (under Policy and Guidance drop down menu) that provides step-by-step instructions for users to complete state and federal grant expenditure reports via the Electronic Expenditure Reporting system accessible in the ISBE Web Application System (IWAS). 

As a reminder, cumulative (year-to-date) expenditure reports are required to be submitted to ISBE on a quarterly basis at minimum. Reports must reflect expenditures that align to the most currently approved state or federal grant from the project begin date through the quarter end date or other expenditure through date. Expenditure reports are due to ISBE 20 calendar days after the end of each quarter:

·         From the project begin date through Sept. 30 – due Oct. 20.

·         From the project begin date through Dec. 31 – due Jan. 20.

·         From the project begin date through March 31 – due April 20.

·         From the project begin date through June 30 – due July 20.

The majority of grant projects end on June 30. If the project has been granted an end date extension (usually Aug. 31) a subsequent report through the extended end date is required and due to ISBE 20 days later.

Failure to submit required reports in a timely manner will result in a project freeze of payments until the report is submitted. Questions regarding expenditure reporting should be directed to Funding and Disbursements staff at (217) 782-5256.

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