The Four R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic and ‘Roga. Encinitas Union School District Could Spend $800k (Update – Now $400k) On Yoga.

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Update 06/23/2016 It’s official. The San Diego Union yoga department reports, “The Encinitas school board on Tuesday approved a plan to spend $416,000 in the next school year on a health and wellness program that must include at least one day of yoga instruction per week.

The plan — another attempt at compromise with parents unhappy that district money would be spent on yoga lessons — also sets aside $384,000 to help pay for enrichment teachers in other subjects now covered by parent fund-raising and donations. The health and wellness teachers can incorporate other subjects besides yoga.

The Encinitas Union School District board voted 4-1 to approve the expenditure as part of its 2016-17 budget, with board member Gregg Sonken opposed.”

Update 06/18/2016 – No longer $800,000 yoga budget, now $400,000 budget.

The San Diego Union yoga department reports, “A revised plan for Encinitas school yoga instruction would cut proposed funding for the program nearly in half, but it’s still being panned by some parents who are planning a protest at Tuesday’s school board meeting.

Under the latest proposal, the Encinitas Union School District would set aside $416,000 for the yoga-based health and wellness program, instead of the $800,000 initially planned. The spending is part of the district’s 2016-17 budget, set to be approved by the school board Tuesday.

Under the revised plan, the schools would pay $32,000 to enrichment teachers in all disciplines. That represents a cut for the yoga instructors, who currently earn $55,860 per year, but would be a pay increase for other specialized instructors, who earn $25 per hour in part-time positions. Parents object to the proposal linking yoga to other programs.

A report by the University of San Diego, however, found mixed results from the Encinitas yoga program for its first year of operation during the 2012-13 school year. Students who participated in yoga for a full year had better flexibility and exterior trunk strength, the study found, while those who took yoga only half a year had better upper body strength and endurance.”


Below is from 5/31/2016

The San Diego Union Tribune reports the Encinitas Union School District (you can search their site, but nothing on this expense yet) has proposed spending $800,000 to continue a controversial yoga program that made headlines because of legal challenges regarding constitutionality issues.

The Four R’s: Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic and ‘Roga

In addition to the regular teaching curriculum of reading, writing and arithmetic, yoga instruction has been taught in Encinitas schools. The cost of yoga was funded by grants, but that funding wasn’t renewed this year. The districts’ currently plans to pay that expense. Many parents say the money would be better spent on science, physical education or art.

The proposed expenditure sparked a petition drive on, which generated more than 600 signatures.

Yoga Relieves Stress – Yet Can Lead To Stressful Lawsuits

It’s the second time the district’s yoga program has come under scrutiny. In 2013, parents filed a yoga lawsuit (LA Times Article) arguing the ancient exercise and meditation practice constituted religious indoctrination. In 2015 an appeals court concurred with a Superior Court decision that the yoga exercises offered in Encinitas were not religious.

It’s Not The Money… Umm, Maybe It Is

Many parents say they don’t have a religious or philosophical problem with the program, but object to spending money on yoga when parents must raise money to pay for science teachers and arts programs.

A Bargain So Far – $4M

The district has provided twice-a-week yoga sessions to all students for the past four years, through $4 million in grants from the Encinitas-based Sonima Foundation.

Free Yoga?

The San Diego Union Tribune went on to write, “When the foundation discontinued funding for the program for the next school year, district officials proposed spending $800,000 to keep it going. Parents who objected said they were astonished by the dollar figure. “I’m not opposed to yoga if it’s free,” said Heidi Loren, mother of a first-grader and sixth-grader at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School. ‘That was fine. But to pull money from the school is crazy. Eight hundred thousand dollars, seriously? I mean, what in the world?'”

Encinitas Yoga As A Job Creator

Since it was introduced in 2012, the yoga program expanded from one instructor to its current staff of 11 full-time and four part-time teachers. The spending proposed for next year would pay for those positions, and represent a “bridge” that would allow the district to seek new grants, or find ways to reduce costs.


It’s a tough economy out there… starting yoga now can prepare you for a lucrative position in the yoga industry – and also in the legal industry – Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury must pay $6.4 million in punitive damages, a jury decides.







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