Portland still sending students to Outdoor School

Thousands of metro-area sixth-graders are getting ready to attend Outdoor School, a rite of passage for many school districts since 1966.

Portland Public Schools nearly wiped Outdoor School out of its budget this year, but a group of supporters succeeded in saving the program in a last-minute funding package pieced together from various sources.

PPS will send 3,500 students to Outdoor School this year, starting Sept. 30 with a group of 300 students from Beverly Cleary, Jason Lee, Hosford and Faubion schools.

Like last year, the students will attend for three days rather than the traditional six days, a cost-saving measure.

Dan Prince, Outdoor School coordinator, says it’s a big difference in field-study time, but his team is making changes to maximize the students’ experience.

PPS’ funding for Outdoor School this year comes from: the East Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District ($150,000); West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District ($25,000); PPS ($150,000); city of Portland ($50,000); Metro ($216,000); Friends of Outdoor School ($127,000); and parent fees ($85 per student except for students receiving free or reduced-price meals).

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