Taking the P.E. out of Peoria

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PUSD Img Taking the P.E. out of PeoriaI hate to read stories like this one. Did you know the Peoria Unified School District is considering dropping music, art and physical education classes??? Ths first two sadden me. The last SCARES me! Read on…

(Article courtesy of Jeffrey JavierArizona Republic)

The loss of the Peoria Unified School Districts $18 million budget override could mean the elimination of several programs that include elementary school music, art and physical education.

District board members reviewed a list of potential cuts that would affect elementary, high school and district programs and services should the override renewal fail in the Nov. 2 election.

// // The override, which annually brings in about $18 million, pays teacher salaries, maintains class sizes and supports extracurricular activities.

The district pared down a list of recommended cuts after a request from the board earlier this month.

Parent Angela Mussi called the list disconcerting.

“It’s scary to know that our kids may lose access to programs that could make or break their education,” Mussi said. “It’s devastating and disturbing.”

A majority of the cuts would affect elementary schools. Such cuts include limiting band, music, art and physical education to seventh and eighth grades; eliminating assistant principals in schools with fewer than 600 students; and increasing the class size to the maximum.

The responsibility for teaching band, art, and physical education may fall on the general education teachers.

Adam West, co-president of the teachers union, said the outlook for teachers should the override fail is poor at best.

“They’ll have the max amount of students and responsibility over those specialties,” West said. “I just don’t see how that can be good for students.”

Bonnie Apperson, spokeswoman for the district, said that because of the loss in state funding, the district has already shaved about $26 million from the budget, all of which avoided any serious impact to students’ education.

School positions were the most affected, with 116 employees eliminated, many of them counselors, English-language learners and reading assistants.

“We’ve kept most of the cuts out of the classroom . . . but without the override we’ll have to make cuts that will likely affect students,” Apperson said.

The board on Thursday was expected to approve the list of potential budget cuts should the override fail, which was not in time to make the deadline for the Peoria Republic.

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