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Scottsdale school district considers cutting arts, PE classes

PHOENIX — Faced with a nearly $4 million budget shortfall, the Scottsdale Unified School District is looking at cutting the number of classes known as “specials,” which include art, music and physical education.

The proposal would reduce classes from everyday to every other day for kindergarten through fifth graders.

During the last school board meeting, Desert Canyon Elementary music teacher Rene Suderman asked members to imagine only attending half of a concert, making half of a piece of art or playing half of a baseball game.

“Special area classes are not just a break from the academic day,” Suderman said. “They enrich in academics and provide a much-needed outlet for many students. The cost in the end would be much more than losing half.”

The district could save about $1.5 million by cutting the classes, which would also eliminate 30 teaching positions. Another $700,000 could be saved by not filling vacant administrative and support jobs.

The budget is expected to be adopted in June, but teachers who could lose their jobs must be notified by April 4.