Proposed Senate Bill 1189 would increase the minimum amount of physical education instruction students must take from three days a week, to a set number of minutes per week. For elementary school students, that number is 150 minutes; for middle school and high school, it goes up to 225. This would make P.E. the only subject to have mandated minutes.
Consequences For District 203 and 204
If passed, it would have unintended consequences for local districts.
“It would take away elective courses perhaps from the high school and the middle schools,” said Michael Raczack, District 204 board president. “And, it would cost the district $1.4 million dollars.
District 203 says for them the cost would be closer to $2 million. That’s because they’d have to hire almost 30 full-time teachers to fulfill the mandate.
Senator Linda Holmes on Bill 1189
According to District 204, they’d need to hire about 21. But local Senator, Linda Holmes, who is sponsoring the bill, questions those numbers.
“That information is ridiculous. They’re saying if this bill actually passes they’re saying they would need to hire an additional 21 teachers. I mean, are you kidding?” said Senator Holmes, who represents the 42nd District.
She supports the bill because of studies showing that physical activity has a positive benefit on a person’s brain.
“It plays a huge part. So we know that just getting up and being physically active can bring your students back to being able to focus and pay attention in class,” said Holmes.
District 203 and 204 Raise More Concerns
But Districts 203 and 204 worry the passage of this bill could mean a change in those other classes.
District 203 addressed the bill’s mandated minutes in an email saying, “At a minimum, the elementary school day and the junior high school day would need to be lengthened just to meet the physical education mandate.”
Senator Holmes Plans With Bill 1189
But, there is some flexibility in those mandated minutes. Senator Holmes said student athletes required minutes would be counted when they’re in practice or in a game. And if a student has an excused absence they wouldn’t have to make up their P.E. Time.
However, there are enough concerns being voiced, that Senator Holmes has decided not to call the Senate Bill this spring. But, she does plan to meet with stakeholders, hear their issues, and find adjustments that everyone can agree upon.
“I’m finally going to sit down and I’m going to say ‘Now I’m going to force you to sit down at the table and we’re going to work out a way to do this’,” said Senator Holmes.
Naperville News 17’s Christian Canizal reports.
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