Main Banner

NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
Contact: Press Office 518-474-4015


DiNapoli: Audit Shows Mixed Results on School Districts' Compliance With Physical Education Rules

September 12, 2018

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli released an audit today identifying school districts that are not meeting all state-mandated physical education (PE) requirements for students. Of the 10 school districts examined, nine did not provide an adequate amount of PE to students in grades K-4, and seven did not do so for grade 5. Auditors did find that all 10 districts met the requirements for students in grades 9-12, nine districts met grade 6 requirements, and nine districts met requirements for students in grades 7-8.

"As childhood obesity continues to plague our children, it’s more important than ever to get students moving and help them develop healthy lifestyle habits," said DiNapoli. "New York has set forth critical benchmarks that promote physical fitness and can foster improved academic performance, but they’re only beneficial if schools follow the requirements."

DiNapoli’s audit focused on 10 districts in New York during the 2016-17 school year: Baldwinsville Central School District (Onondaga County), Binghamton City School District (Broome), Brockport Central School District (Genesee, Monroe, Orleans), Camden Central School District (Lewis, Oneida, Oswego), Corning City School District (Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben), East Ramapo Central School District (Rockland), Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union Free School District (Erie), Plattsburgh City School District (Clinton), South Colonie Central School District (Albany, Schenectady) and South Huntington Union Free School District (Suffolk).

Auditors reviewed the districts’ compliance with requirements set by the State Education Department (SED). Specifically:

  • In grades K-3, students should be receiving a minimum of 120 minutes of PE during the course of five classes per week.
  • For grades 4-6, the requirement is 120 minutes of PE during three classes, unless the district opts to have 5thand 6th graders follow the secondary school standards which require an average of 90 minutes per week.
  • In grades 7-12, the minimum class time varies, but it must average 90 minutes per week.

Among the districts examined, only one – Kenmore-Tonawanda – met the minimum PE minute and day requirements for all elementary, secondary and high school grades. The remaining nine districts either did not meet the minimum requirements or did not maintain the required documentation to show they met the requirements for all grade levels.

Some district officials explained that they lacked the time during the day for additional PE classes, faced financial difficulties that limited funding for PE staff or were unaware of the specific requirements.

School districts must also develop and maintain formal PE plans that meet state requirements, including having the plan approved by the school board and filed with SED. The audit, however, revealed none of the districts had a PE plan that met all state requirements; seven districts failed to file a PE plan with SED; and five school boards did not approve their district’s PE plan.

As a result of the audit, DiNapoli recommended school officials:

  • Take steps to bring the PE program into compliance with SED regulations; and
  • Prepare and file a board approved PE plan with SED, as required.

The final report can be found online at:

Find out how your government money is spent at Open Book New York. Track municipal spending, the state's 150,000 contracts, billions in state payments and public authority data. Visit the Reading Room for contract FOIL requests, bid protest decisions and commonly requested data.