IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — This year marks the first in several years that music and physical education are at all Bonneville Joint School District 93 elementary schools.

The district cut funding for the two programs at its elementary schools in 2011, when the state was reducing education funding due to the economic downturn.

Voters earlier this year approved an increase in the district’s supplemental levy from $3 million to $5.8 million. Some of that money went to other needs such as paving and new school buses, and some is being used to fund music and physical education at all of the district’s elementary schools, the Post Register reported .

“One of the things we were doing (with the levy increase) was trying to bring back some of the programs we had previously had throughout the district,” said Jason Lords, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction.

The district used some of the extra funding to hire music and physical education teachers and buy them supplies. Kindergartners alternate, with physical education one week and music the next, while students in first-through-sixth grades have both once a week.

The music classes through third grade focus on chorus, rhythm and music fundamentals, Lords said. Students in higher grades start to learn how to read music. The fourth-graders have recorders, while the fifth- and sixth-graders are learning how to play the ukulele.

Today’s physical education is focused less on competitive activities and learning the rules of different games than some people may remember and more on “non-elimination activities,” physical fitness, movement, body control and spatial awareness, said Terry Belnap, who coordinates physical education for District 93’s elementary schools.

“It’s a new PE,” she said. “Nobody’s sitting around or being put out of a game and made to watch the refs. It’s not like that.”


Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com