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Health and PE Classes in Quakertown Hit the Chopping Block
Written by Kelly Kalb, Correspondent
2014-12-11
            Quakertown School Board members  approved changes to the district's health and physical education courses for next year last Thursday night with notable concern from teacher, Ryan Stetler.
            The decision was made unanimously to reduce the health program offerings from two years to one year and physical education from three to two years. 
            Stetler, a health and phys ed teacher, stated he felt it would have a negative impact on students, noting a rise of obesity as well as drug use in the U.S. as cause for concern. 
            School board member Ron Jackson had no comment on the decision; however, remarked the topic has been of frequent discussion since his appointment to the board in early September.
            Board members did not offer a reason for the cuts, although members said  Quakertown Community School District courses offerings are far above the state's minimum requirements for health and physical education. 
Several parents spoke during the meeting, bringing up concerns related to health and fitness, drug use, teen pregnancy and obesity. 
            School board member Stephen Ripper made statements about parents needing to take responsibility for their teenager's health and to stop putting the responsibility on the school system.
            Dr. Bill Harner, superintendent for the district, added insight into the reason behind the cuts via email message. "We are bringing the health and physical education high school credit requirement into balance with other content areas in our mandated curriculum," said Harner.
            In comparison to other districts, Quakertown has excelled in this area of study with Central Bucks meeting state requirements with only 1 credit at the high school level. With the approval, Quakertown will be equivalent to 1.5 credits in comparison to 2.5 credits in years past.
            Harner said, "We are also significantly overstaffed with PE teachers." 
Discussions related to the cuts commenced as far back as March and the reduction of staff was approved on the budget report in June, Harner said. 
            Harner added, "We have been working with PE teachers effected to give them plenty of time to get certified in a different content area. Those working with us will not be furloughed."
            In other business, school board President Paul Stepanoff was re-elected for 2015 in an 8-1 vote, with member Bob Smith in opposition. School board Vice President Joyce King was also re-elected.

 

 

 

 

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