Portland Public School should fund the full five nights, six days of outdoor school for all its sixth graders. For some students, it is a life changing experience and/or the most remembered activity of their K-12 educational experience. Why would anyone reduce or eliminate it? It should be a high priority. Forget the overemphasis on test scores.
Currently, PPS is trying to raise a total of “$840,000 cost for every Portland Public Schools sixth-grader to attend a three-day, two-night session.” (here). With about 3,500 sixth graders, that is $240 per student. Another cost estimate (here) is $60 per day per student. Using the latter, a full six days for 3,500 students would cost $1.26 million (more if the cost rate for three days is extrapolated). I would like to see a good cost accounting of outdoor school both to look for cost savings and to understand the real cost rate.
I would favor PPS cutting about 13 teaching positions (and adjusting class sizes upwards) to fund the full outdoor school. (Currently, PPS has proposed cutting 110 teachers to save $10.4 million. That is $94,545 in costs or savings per teaching position).
I would also remind PPS that is could save an estimated $472,118 to $867,844 by shifting ten percent of high school students to one independent online course (here)
Currently, PPS is just trying to cobble together enough supplemental funding from other organizations to offer the three day program. They should think grander, even at the expense of cutting some teaching positions, and fund the full outdoor school.