- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Virginia elementary and middle schools will not be required to provide 150 minutes of physical education every week, after the state Senate failed by eight votes on Wednesday to override a veto by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell.

While the bill flew under the radar during the legislative session, it prompted strong resistance from school districts and localities who said they would have to pay for more teachers and facilities without help from the state.

Fairfax County officials estimated they’d have to more than double students’ physical activity at a cost of $18 million to $24 million and possibly lengthen school days. Officials in Chesterfield County expected to hire 102 more elementary teachers and 35 middle-school teachers, costing $6.9 million.

Other opponents of the bill included the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties, while the American Heart Association and other healthcare groups supported it.

Virginia school districts are currently allowed to set their own minimum requirements for physical education.

Lawmakers are meeting in Richmond this week for a special session to consider Mr. McDonnell’s vetos and amendments and to approve new House and Senate districts.

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