BOE ap­proves pur­chase of P.E. equip­ment

The Covington News - - LOCAL - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­news.com

Phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams in New­ton County schools will kick into a higher gear this school year through a fed­eral grant that will help to fund new equip­ment and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion sup­plies. The goal is to help stu­dents get fit.

At its July 16 meet­ing, the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion unan­i­mously ap­proved Su­per­in­ten­dent Sa­man­tha Fuhrey’s rec­om­men­da­tion to pur­chase phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion equip­ment from U.S. Games of Dal­las, Texas, and School Spe­cialty of Mans­field, Ohio. The pur­chases ap­proved amount to about $200,000. Michael Barr, New­ton County School Sys­tem di­rec­tor of sup­port ser­vices, said the new equip­ment will be pur­chased uti­liz­ing com­pet­i­tively- bid and awarded con­tracts. The fund­ing comes in the form of a Carol M. White Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Grant. Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, The Carol M. White Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram pro­vides grants to schools and com­mu­nity-based or­ga­ni­za­tions to ini­ti­ate, ex­pand, or en­hance phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams, in­clud­ing af­ter-school pro­grams, for stu­dents in kinder­garten through 12th grade. NCSS grants co­or­di­na­tor Kathy Gar­ber said the grant pro­gram’s goals are to fight child­hood obe­sity and foster healthy eat­ing habits and phys­i­cal fit­ness among young peo­ple.

“Our phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram has sort of been lack­ing in the United States,” Gar­ber said. “We don’t have the money to put into phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion.

“So we ap­plied for this grant. We’ve ac­tu­ally ap­plied for it three years in a row and we fi­nally got it. We’re the only school sys­tem in Ge­or­gia to get it, and one of nine school sys­tems to get it since its in­cep­tion 13 years ago, so we feel re­ally lucky,” she said.

Gar­ber ex­plained that the grant the school sys­tem re­ceived was for $408,951, and she said $281,991was bud­geted to pur­chase fit­ness equip­ment and phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion sup­plies, equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als.

“(This is) to be used with the teach­ers in de­vel­op­ing a stronger fit­ness pro­gram as op­posed to just throw­ing out the ball and play­ing games,” Gar­ber said.

PE teach­ers worked all year to pre­pare lists of items that their in­di­vid­ual schools may need, Gar­ber said.

“We took the to­tal amount of money that we were awarded for equip­ment and sup­plies, and I said, ‘OK, each school gets X amount of money. Tell us what you need.’ … Some schools needed a climb­ing wall, and a lot of schools al­ready had one. Some schools needed ex­tra chin-up bars, or pull-up bars, or sit-and-reach boxes. Oth­ers had what they needed.”

Gar­ber said pur­chases planned for all of the sys­tem’s schools in­clude Wii gam­ing sys­tems, lap­top com­put­ers, pro­jec­tors and work­out CDs.

“It is good ex­er­cise, and you can have lots of con­trollers and lots of stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing,” Gar­ber said. “It makes it lots of fun.”

School of­fi­cials said no lo­cal funds would be used to make the new equip­ment pur­chases.

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