Cost of P.E. proposal raises concerns

If the state is wants to bulk up its P.E. requirements, then it also needs to bulk up school budgets.

That’s the message from eastern Idaho school officials, who discussed the idea with Christina Lords of the Post Register in Idaho Falls.

“Budgets, as they are right now, are very streamlined and there’s not a lot of extra wiggle room in those budgets,” Kent Patterson, principal of Tiebreaker Elementary School in Idaho Falls, told Lords. “Education (in Idaho) is still being funded at 2008 levels, but we’re operating in a 2013 economy and we’re still struggling.”

Tiebreaker offers physical education 40 minutes a week. A proposed state rule would increase the elementary school requirement to 60 minutes per week. Junior high schools would be required to offer 200 minutes per week, and students would need two credits of high school P.E. in order to graduate.

The State Department of Education will take comments on the proposal until Nov. 1 (here’s a link to an Idaho Education News article on the department’s public hearing last week). The State Board of Education will vote on the proposal later this year. And a proposed rule would need approval from either the House or Senate education committee.

Here’s an Idaho Statesman link to the Post Register article, which is behind a paywall.

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