CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. - While students in Charlotte County prepare to head back to the classroom next week, they will also be heading back to the gym!
Monday, district leaders announced that five PE teacher positions that were cut several months ago to save money have been reinstated.
This came as good and surprising news to teachers and even district leaders. After deciding to cut those five positions as a cost saving measure, this month, leaders found out they were getting one million dollars from the state.
It's more than enough to put p-e teachers back in the classroom.
With already overflowing plates, elementary school teachers in Charlotte County were bracing themselves to have to add one more responsibility, teaching phys ed.
"We need to start taking things off and that was a blessing to get that taken off," says teacher and Charlotte FEA President, Bryan Bouton.
After some unexpected funding from the state, a million dollars worth, Superintendent Dr. Doug Whittaker announced that a quarter of that will help reinstate five PE teaching positions in the elementary schools.
"As a formal PE teacher way back in the beginning of my career, I really do value having structured PE being taught by professionals," he says.
While it's just a point five program, meaning the teachers see the kids once every nine days, teachers believe it's a worthwhile cost.
"I think it's awesome, I think it's the right thing to do," says PE teacher, Dana Kramer.
Kramer has been teaching PE for 34 years. Twenty of those, in Charlotte County. She says the value of this class goes well beyond the gym.
"We're kind of a laboratory where children can work on not only physical education skills but all kinds if skills, communication skills and classroom skills... it also includes attitude and opinions that they're going to be forming for a lifetime," she says.
While this is a step in the right direction, the Superintendent says there's still a lot of work to be done. They are working with the teachers union to figure out a long term plan to bring back other programs that were lost to budget cuts.