James T. Guines, acting public school superintendent for the District of Columbia and an avid supporter of the school system's physical education and athletic programs, said he will continue to fight to keep both programs from incurring any further shortages despite personnel cutbacks and shortage of funds in the programs.
"Physical education is definitely a priority for our children," said Guines, who replaced recently retired Vincent E. Reed, another booster of athletics.
"No one has beat us over the head about physical education scores -- only reading and math scores. We realize athletics is a direct route for many of our kids to go to college. We need to keep that door open. So far, none of the money appropriated for those programs has been touched. Actually, we have added a little more to the girls programs."
What has happened, according to Guines, is that "Everything has skyrocketed in price and the system has been unable to allot more money to purchase supplies and equipment."
Said Guines, "It appears the athletic and physical education programs are being shortchanged because the same moneys have to be stretched farther. When we start dealing with cutbacks, everyone screams to cut back athletics. It's tough but we're trying to maintain these programs.
"We are going to propose a (Total) budget of about $248 million for the fiscal year of '82. That's about $17 million more than we got last year, but I seriously doubt if any of the extra dollars will go toward physical education or athletics.
"We have major shortages in all of our programs, and I have to be honest. If it comes down to putting funds in our prekindergarten program, which has literally been phased out, or in athletics, I'll go with the prekindergarten.
"Of course, everyone will say the superintendent is a bad guy; these are hard and nasty decisions," Guines said. "I know our football fields and gymnasiums are in need of repairs, but our school walls need painting, doors need hinges, etc. So, you know where the priorities lie.
We're doing everything we can to maintain and as long as I'm superintendent, the athletic programs will get as much money as we can give them."