CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - On the same day the Institute of Medicine recommended that schools add more physical education for students, WINK News has learned Charlotte County is cutting the class.
Parents are asking why the county is doing away with PE in elementary schools, but the district says it's a necessary cut and kids will still get the exercise they need.
"We want people to understand that it's not that we don't value PE, our belief is the child's best teacher is their parent," said Mike Riley with Charlotte County Public Schools.
According to Riley, in the past five years, the district has cut $38 million from its budget and eliminated 380 positions.
"We've cut, cut, cut, and parents are upset. I'm glad they are upset in a way but they are upset at the wrong people." he said.
Thursday, the district announced it will no longer offer physical education classes to elementary students this upcoming school year.
"PE really helps keep a kid, keeps their bodies in shape and keep them more positive," said parent Tom Mount.
Riley says the money is just not in the budget and something had to go.
"With the Governor's raise for employees $4.2 million went to that so that means $800,000 in new monies for this school year. For 16,300 students, 2,400 employees and 28 sites.
Currently, students have one PE class every two weeks.
"The state requires they have what's called a structured recess, 30-minutes of that per day. We are going to continue that. That will take place with a classroom teacher," he said.
And says this change will not keep kids from getting the exercise they need.
"Well if they're getting recess and they are able to go outside and still burn off some energy, playing on monkey bars and stuff like that, I guess it's not as bad," said resident Tamar Licalzi.
No physical education teachers will lose their jobs, they will move to other positions within the school district.