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Congress Passes 2012 Federal Budget: PEP Gets Level Funding

Date: 12/18/11

Many Federal Programs Are Cut or Eliminated…..PEP’s Level Funding Is A Plus

SILVER SPRING, MD - December 18, 2011 - The good news for the country is that Federal budget for Fiscal Year 2012 has been passed by the U.S. Congress.  The great news for the sports and fitness industry is that the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) has received level funding -- $78.8 million.  The new funds will be used to support existing grants from 2010 and 2011, with the remainder directed to new grants awarded in 2012.   Congress approved the budget this past Friday (December 16) and President Obama is expected to sign the bill later.

PEP funds are used to purchase fitness and sports equipment and train PE teachers in innovative methods of physical education.

In late September the U.S. Department of Education announced the recipients of more than $35 million in PEP grants.  New PEP grants will be distributed to 76 school districts and community based organizations across the country.  The balance, approximately $44 million, will be used to fund 2nd and 3rd years of PEP grants awarded in 2009 and 2010. The average new PEP grant was roughly $441,000.

"SGMA is pleased that our efforts on PEP have resulted in $78.8 million for schools to spend on equipment and training in the next 12 months to improve the health of America's school children," said SGMA President Tom Cove. "We are proud to have helped hundreds of schools and thousands of children over the past decade with over $700 million in funding for schools to improve their PE programs.  Being able to drive significant funding 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."

"The level funding for the PEP program is a strong signal that Congress sees not only the importance of continuing to improve physical education in schools to help students meet state requirements for physical education, but also that the PEP program is making a difference," said Bill Sells, SGMA's vice president of government relations.  "Given that there are no longer earmarks and many programs are not being funded, this is big news for our industry and it's proof positive that PEP has great value."

"The message we bring to Congress through SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day each March continues to resonate, namely that investments in fitness and sports will provide solid, tangible returns through healthier, more productive students and citizens," said SGMA Chairman Larry Franklin (President; Franklin Sports; Stoughton, MA).  "Our industry and our education colleagues need to keep our legislators and policy makers aware of the importance of the PEP legislation and that it's making a difference in the lives of people that it's impacting."

The good news about the status of the PEP legislation is that it is in line with the results of a recent study at the University of Illinois at Chicago which indicated that state and school district-level policies which mandate minimum requirements for in-school physical education and recess time are associated with increased odds of students in schools in those states and districts meeting physical activity recommendations for students. 

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by promoting favorable public policies, fostering participation through research, thought leadership and product promotion.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA public policy platform, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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