The SGMA said the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) program survived a close call by not being eliminated in the new agreement reached on Capitol Hill on April 8 to fund the U.S. government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. But SGMA officials said the program could still face some cuts due to the unusual budget situation.

Details of the plan were released on Aug 12.

In an interview with Sports Executive Weekly, Bill Sells, SGMA's vice president of government relations, said the situation remains “fluid” and even “confusing” at this point. Although it's positive that PEP funding was not on the cut list, it may still face some reductions by the Department of Education.

“Due to the unusual budget process, Congress is not giving the Department of Education a road map of how to allocate funds,” said Sells. “As such the Department of Education will have greater say in distribution of funds. It is unclear how they plan to divvy up those funds, but if they don't receive full funding (total Ed budget is cut $10 billion), they could decide to not award new PEP Grants and just fund years two and three of previously awarded PEP grants.”

SGMA also noted that the PEP program was slated to be eliminated under the original budget proposal that was passed in January by the U.S. House of Representatives, but was not considered in the U.S. Senate.

“Over the next 30 days, the Department of Education will be working with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to decide which of the remaining programs will receive funding. The SGMA will continue its work with our champions in Congress to ensure that PEP is funded,” said Sells.

The SGMA said it encourages the physical education community, especially past PEP grant winners and new applicants, to contact members of Congress and the Department of Education to let them know the importance of the program and express strong support for continued PEP funding.