The Baker School District’s Outdoor School has continued to operate over the past 25 years when other districts had to give up their programs because of budget cuts.
Because administrators, staff and parents believed the outdoor lessons taught to sixth-graders each year were of great value, Parent-Teacher organizations, grant funding and a steady troop of volunteers and community partners allowed the program to continue.
Scrapping for money won’t be necessary in the coming years thanks to statewide passage of Ballot Measure 99 in November 2016 that allocated funding for Outdoor School programs for Oregon fifth- and sixth-graders.
Schools were notified last month that they would begin receiving funding for the 2017-18 school year.
And that means the Baker School District will be reimbursed for the expenses incurred during its September 2016 program at a rate of about $35 per student, said Betty Palmer, assistant superintendent.
That came to a little more than $5,800 for the Baker program, Palmer said.
The Legislature has charged the Oregon State University Extension Service, an annual partner in the Baker School District’s program already, with administering the program. A total of $24 million had been approved for the program’s first two years, a press release from Kristopher Elliott, an OSU Extension Service assistant director who leads the program, stated.
See more in the Jan. 8, 2018, issue of the Baker City Herald.