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Board Message on PE Legislation

Reported by on 4/9/19

Dear District 204 Community,

The Board of Education wants to make you aware of pending legislation that could negatively impact our district. Senate Bill 1189 (sponsored by Senator Linda Holmes) and House Bill 2234 (sponsored by Representative Sonya Harper) call for a change to school code that will increase the specific number of minutes of physical education instruction, making it the only subject that will have mandated minutes per week and a daily requirement.

Indian Prairie has a long history of excellence in physical education. Our physical education departments and teachers have won numerous awards and accolades from professional organizations and others. We understand the importance of teaching our students about physical activity and well-being. However, increasing the legal requirement for the amount of time physical education is taught will have a negative impact on other educational programs.

For Indian Prairie to be in full compliance with the bill as currently written at the elementary level, we would need to hire 21 additional full-time physical education teachers even though we currently offer PE three times a week, daily recess, and movement breaks within our classrooms. In at least nine of our elementary buildings we do not have the appropriate amount of gym space to fully implement this bill. At the middle school level we offer daily physical education, but we would be short on the weekly minutes. This would require us to change the middle school schedule and decrease time for academic subjects or eliminate one of the elective courses for our students (e.g., music, art, foreign language, technology, etc.). At the high school level, this bill would not allow our students to count health or driver’s education toward their physical education requirement. This means students would have access to one less elective course.

While well meaning, this bill has significant negative implications for the education of our students. We are currently planning to spend a portion of next year’s state funding to lower class sizes at our Title I buildings, provide additional support for reading in those buildings to improve academic achievement, and increase mental health providers across the district. If this bill becomes law, we will not be able to do these things. We will need to spend our funds on hiring physical education teachers.

There are ways to make your opinion known. One is to contact your representative and urge them to oppose Senate Bill 1189 and House Bill 2234.

Sincerely,

Michael Raczak
President
Board of Education

District 204 is served by the following (find your state Representative and Senator by your home address here):

State Representative District 41, Grant Wehrli (41districtdirector@gmail.com, 630-696-4160)
State Representative District 84, Stephanie Kifowit (stephanie.kifowit@att.net, 630-585-1308)
State Representative District 98, Natalie Manley (repmanley@gmail.com, 815-725-2741)
State Representative District 97, Mark Batinick (batinick@ilhousegop.org, 815-254-0000)
State Representative District 49, Karina Villa (staterepkarinavilla@gmail.com, 630-326-9319)
State Senator District 49, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (bertinotarrant49@att.net, 815-254-4211)
State Senator District 21, Laura Ellman (laura.ellman@gmail.com, 630-453-5488)
State Senator District 42, Linda Holmes (lindaholmes42@gmail.com, 630-801-8985)
State Senator District 25, Jim Oberweis (senatoroberweis@gmail.com, 630-800-1992)

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