The U.S. Department of Education has announced 76 school districts and community organizations in 25 states that will be the recipients of more than $35 million in Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grants. Almost $44 million more in funding will go to supporting the developing programs of PEP recipients from 2009 and 2010. The award money goes toward the purchase of athletic and fitness equipment as well as training for physical education teachers.
Started in 2001, the PEP grant program has provided nearly $700 million in grants to initiate and improve physical education programs across the country. The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has budgeted another $78.8 million in funding for PEP grants for the 2012-13 school year, but those funds still must be approved in the U.S. House of Representatives' Education budget.
"Being able to drive nearly $80 million into schools and communities to enhance physical education and increase physical activity will make a real difference to our children's health, while also providing an important economic benefit to our industry," says Tom Cove, president of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. SGMA, along with the nonprofit P.E.4Life organization, was instrumental in the formation of the PEP grants and continues to be one of the leading lobbyists for its funding.