JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- A proposal for Greater Clark County elementary schools would pull teachers with education degrees out of music, art and physical education classes, replacing them with specialists or instructors without certifications in education.

Superintendent Mark Laughner said it's a challenge to find music, art and P.E. certified elementary teachers, so the district ends up using faculty members with general education degrees in subjects where they're not specialized.

"We feel like we can still provide our students with a good, quality creative arts program at the elementary level," Laughner said. 

His plan would create coordinator positions. Those coordinators would be licensed teachers specializing in the arts or physical education who will oversee the lessons and training of the new instructors. 

"We actually feel like we would get more consistency doing it that way because currently what's taught and how it's taught varies from school to school," Laughner said. "We realize we're getting pushback on this."

And strong pushback coming from the Union Members of the Greater Clark Education Association.

"We're 100% against it. There's absolutely no justified reason for taking a qualified teachers out and replacing them with people who may or may not have their passion in teaching," Union President Mark Felix said. "Handling a classroom full of students is more difficult than just knowing your subject matter. It's not just do you know music. It's can you work with kids, and that's what you've proven when you get a license to teach."

The proposal would cut costs. The difference in pay between a specialist and the average certified teacher in GCCS is $30,000 per year. District leaders said that $600,000 in savings district-wide would be reinvested in schools.

There are 34 special area teachers spread among 12 elementary schools in GCCS, and Laughner said no one would lose their jobs. About 20 certified teachers would be reassigned to other schools. Others would take coordinator positions or stay in their current location. 

Neighboring schools in New Albany cut certified art, music, art and PE teachers several years ago. The GCCS board is expected to vote on the issue next month.

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