MEDFORD, Ore. — A grant for half a million dollars has been approved by the state and is ready to be used to hire physical education teachers in Medford. That grant money would only cover salary costs of the 10 teachers and not the cost of benefits. The district would have to cover those costs plus the addition of two extra P.E. teachers; a price tag of more than $300,000.
Of the 47 elementary schools in the state whose grant requests were approved, 10 of them were in Medford. The remaining 4 of the district’s 14 elementary schools did not meet the qualification of 40% or more students on a free or reduced lunch. None of the elementary schools in the district currently have physical education teachers. Parents said they were in favor of the addition of P.E. teachers despite the costs and said the benefits range from learning healthy habits to being more focused in class.
“I think that it, helps the children to concentrate and to focus on what they need to focus on because they’re not getting up out of their chairs, they’re not chattering, I think it’s something to help them focus on their school work,” said Howard Elementary School parent Lynda Hill.
Superintendent Phil Long said enrollment at schools in the district is significantly up and as a result, more money will be headed to the school district. Long said this money will be a big help in covering the costs of the benefits and the added teachers.