Portland Public Schools could improve the education of some, perhaps many, of its students by sending them on paid high school years abroad and save money by doing so. Yes, cheaper and better! Some high school study abroad programs are cheaper than in district high school costs, and those study abroad costs also include room and board with a family abroad.
There are current study abroad organizations that offer high school years abroad for less than current per student expenditure in Portland Public Schools. ASSE, as one of these study abroad organizations, tends to have the lowest fees.
ASSE was established in 1976 as the American Scandinavian Student Exchange by the Swedish Government to organize student exchange programs between Sweden and the United States. It now maintains 38 offices in 31 countries and accommodates more than 30,000 high school age students and host families annually in its programs in the participating countries.
Program fees include: Round trip international airfare from New York to Europe and South Africa, from Miami to Brazil and Argentina, from Los Angeles to Asia/Pacific. Fees also include comprehensive health, accidental death and travel insurance, host family recruitment and screening, non-English speaking country language training, and orientation. Note that for 2018-19 ASSE offers high school years abroad for less than $9,400 to twenty four countries, as follows:
In 2016-17, the total expenditures per student in PPS was $16,947, including operating expenditures per student of $13,678 plus capital expenditures per student of $3,269.
Operating costs per student vary among PPS high schools as follows:
Using Lincoln, the least costs per student high school (also a school needing to reduce enrollment), cost accounting can separate administrative overhead costs (central support), which student studying abroad would incur, from the other costs that students studying abroad would not incur in district..
PPS could save $8,075 per high school students sent abroad, which includes operating costs savings of $3,269 per student and capital cost savings of $8,075.
Note: Money saved on some students can be spend on other students.
In March, I wrote the PPS Board, as part of their budget development, requesting that (here):
In your 2018-19 budget, please allocate funds to send several students abroad as a pilot program.
Extending study abroad opportunities to all PPS students does not require more revenues or more spending, just a shift in what PPS spends money on. Instead of spending money for students located in high schools in PPS, PPS could spend money on our students in high schools abroad.
Now looks like that is not going to happen this budget year.