Physical Education Waiver Prompts Opposition to Step Up In Chatham County

Chatham school board considers waiver that will allow physical education credits for extra-curricular activities

UPDATE: Today is the day for your voice to be heard regarding the potential P.E. cuts in Chatham County public schools. Savannah-Chatham Public School Board meeting is tonight at 5 p.m. at the administrative offices on Laura Street.


(SAVANNAH) Time is running out for Chatham County parents to have their say about waivers to state. One waiver is prompting some to voice some opposition because they say it will be yet another cut to the physical education curriculum. That waiver, if granted, will allows students to get some physical education credits without taking actual physical education courses. David Feliciano, Chief Data & Accountability Officer with the Savannah-Chatham Public School System explains. “What we’re looking at is students that participate in extra curricular sports activities. We want to be able to leverage that as long as it meets the criteria for physical education” said Feliciano.

But advocates for active lifestyle and health in the Hostess City is planning to oppose the waiver they feel will negatively impact physical education in Chatham County. Paula Kreissler, the Director of Healthy Living and Community Development with Healthy Savannah, says it’s time to stop the whittling away of physical education. ” We get less and less physical activity in our academic settings that ever before and we understand that any physical activity actually contributes to academic performance. You do better in school.” Kreissler said. She adds that students today get far less mandated physical activity time in their curriculum than they used to and that it is time to say enough is enough. ” It’s like physical activity has been hijacked over the last several decades and it’s just time for it to stop.” said Kreissler.

The last in series of public hearings about the flexibility waivers is set for Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at the Savannah-Chatham Public School System Administrative Offices on Laura Street. The deadline looms for the special waivers to be submitted to the State Board of Education. The Chatham Board is set to vote early next month, but Kreissler is hopeful the board can be persuaded because it has already occurred with one of the original waivers in the proposal. ” There was one on a 30 minute lunch requirement that clearly was not very popular at all that was completely pulled outta there so it does mean there is hope.” Kreissler said. The board is still giving weight to feedback about the entire waiver package they will send to the State Board of Education. “We’re already accepting feedback like I said, we have plenty of meetings, we have the public website where feedback can be provided and at this public hearing on the 10th, the board will be there uh, to listen to constituents.” Feliciano said.

The Board of Public Education for the City of Savannah and the County of Chatham will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 5:00 PM regarding its application to become a Strategic Waivers School System/IE2, one of the management structures offered under the Georgia Flexibility Options. The public hearing will be held in Building G of the Whitney Administrative Complex, 2 Laura Avenue, Savannah, GA. The Chatham School Board will vote on their waiver proposal March 2, 2016.

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