LAKEVIEW — Lake View High School must hire two new physical education teachers next year to meet a state requirement that was previously waived for 16 years — but without more funding, that means two other teachers must go.
Chicago Public Schools has had a waiver since 1997 on a state requirement for 11th and 12th graders to take physical education every day, but it expires in June, a decision made by former CEO Jean-Claude Brizard in 2011.
At the time, Brizard said two and a half years would be enough time for leaders to figure out how to add new gym teachers to the longer school day in a "thoughtful" way.
But the district won't be providing more money to hire those teachers, Lake View Principal Lilith Werner told the Local School Council last week.
With more than $1 million in cuts at Lake View — and little hope for more cash next year — Werner said the two new physical education teachers means the loss of two teachers in other departments.
About 400 students will need to start taking the class, Werner said, meaning the school must open up 10 more sessions next year. Most likely, two teachers in elective departments would be laid off, she said.
"There will be no more funding," Werner said.
CPS declined to say whether impacted schools would later be given financial support to help the meet the state requirement.
The state's rule only allows high school students to skip out on daily gym if they are in marching band, in an interscholastic athletic program, need to take certain academic courses to graduate or be admitted into college, or part of the Reserve Officer's Training Corps, ROTC.
Certain students in special education may also waive the daily requirement.
Brizard admitted at the time of the decision that finding funds in the cash-strapped district to hire some 200 new high school teachers would be a challenge.
Then CPS faced even more cuts this year under CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to help patch a $1 billion budget deficit, including $68 million in classroom funding.
Chicago Teachers Union, which advocated to discontinue the waiver sooner, estimated that the new need for phys ed teachers could cost the district $20 million.