Pine Richland Schools to Cut PE

The lunacy of Pennsylvania school laws strikes again. Faced with a budget deficit that cannot be filled by raising taxes as much as the tax base can bear, Pine Richland schools will eliminate the physical education program and cut 5.5 teaching positions.

Why are they doing this? Because state law does not allow a district to lay off teachers for economic reasons. Teachers can be laid off only when enrollment drops significantly or entire programs are eliminated. Since enrollment is not down and teacher pay and benefits continue to rise, the District finds itself in a dilemma. The money is not there to pay everyone and the teachers’ union will not voluntarily suspend pay increases or agree to concessions during the period of financial difficulty so the District is forced to reduce expenditures by dropping a program. Goodbye PE. It could have been music and art, maybe foreign languages, but apparently the least bad cut was the PE department.

Now all those parents and handwringers who will decry this move can begin their screaming at the Board. But they should be screaming at the state laws and the unions that have created this monstrous situation. Stupid and obnoxious do not begin to describe statutes that protect teachers to the degree Pennsylvania elects to do. Thus, rather than asking some sacrifice by several departments in the form of slightly larger class sizes or schedule changes needed to accommodate one less teacher per department, an entire program has to go, guaranteeing the maximum public outcry and attacks on Board members.

And so it goes. Just one more indication of how down the road to total government chaos Pennsylvania has traveled.