Smith: Federal funds to save PE, some teaching jobs

Smith: Federal funds to save PE, some teaching jobs »Play Video
Michael Koukoumano, right, testifies at the school board meeting on Monday.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Massive budget cuts had put physical education on the chopping block at Portland Public Schools, but it looks like PE will now remain a part of the school day for young students.

Saying she's confident federal funding will come through, PPS Superintendent Carole Smith requested the school board to cut $13  million from the budget instead of $19 million.

The board approved her request.

The move means physical education at K-8 schools will remain, although it may be reduced at some schools.
Smith was not alone in her support of PE. At a meeting Monday night, students shared their view of the importance of PE.

“As a 12-year-old at Laurelhurst K-through-8 school,  I and many other children think it is a horrible idea to cut or even shorten PE,” Michael Koukoumano said.. “PE is very important because it helps kids exercise and be more active which keeps them from becoming obese."

The district says the federal funding will help save 64 teaching jobs of the 180 scheduled for termination.

School officials said dozens of cuts will still be made to teachers and staff.