CHICAGO – February 6, 2012. As part of his commitment to strengthening education in Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn today visited Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHSAS) to discuss recently adopted legislation that will allow more students in urban areas to pursue opportunities in Illinois’ vital agricultural economy.
“One of Illinois’ biggest economic engines is our mighty agriculture,” Governor Quinn said. “Our urban students and those who live in rural communities should have the educational opportunities to prepare them for jobs in an industry that keeps food on our tables and makes our state more competitive in the global economy."
The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences is a public magnet school that was opened by the Chicago Public Schools in 1985 with the goal of bringing agricultural education to urban students. The 72-acre campus includes a 40-acre working farm that allows students to get hands-on experience as well as summer internships in agricultural-related fields, which leads to many entering college to pursue agricultural and food science fields. Students are selected for the school via a lottery that chooses 150 students out roughly 1,000 applicants each year for the freshman class.
Senate Bill 1226, sponsored by Sen. Ed Maloney (D-Chicago) and Rep. Bill Cunningham (D-Chicago) changes the enrollment cap for the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences from 600 to 720 students and requires that 50% of enrollment reside within a 2.5 mile radius of the school, which is located on a 72-acre campus on the far South Side.
As highlighted by Governor Quinn in his State of the State Address, Illinois exports rose 30 percent in 2010 and the state is on track to double its exports by 2014. In 2010, Illinois’ farm economy had total cash receipts of $15 billion, supporting for tens of thousands of jobs. Agriculture exports alone supported nearly 50,000 jobs in 2010.