Pinellas cutting P.E. positions
In addition to encouraging elementary schools to move away from daily physical education, Pinellas County is cutting P.E. teaching positions. "There is a change to the staffing model for PE," district spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra writes The Gradebook. "It is resulting in a reduction of 10 PE teacher positions and 17 PE assistant positions next school year."
School board Chairwoman Carol Cook said she doesn't expect any P.E. teachers to lose their jobs. More instructors retire each year than the number of positions lost, Cook said.
District documents show that Pinellas expects to save $955,400 by cutting the 27 positions.
The changes are expected to drive up class size by three students: from 25 to 28 students per teacher for kindergarten through the third grade, and from 32 to 35 students for the fourth and fifth grade. For comparison's sake, here are the student-teacher ratios for elementary P.E. in surrounding districts:
Hillsborough: ranges from 1:18 to 1:36
Manatee: 1:36 for K-3, 1:40 K-5
Sarasota: ranges from 1:22 to 1:36
Per district documents, Pinellas is the only one of these districts to employ P.E. assistants. The other districts split instruction time between certified P.E. instructors and classroom teachers.