The Outdoor School for All Campaign
On November 8, 2016, Oregon voters approved Measure 99: Outdoor School for All. In doing so, Oregon became the first state in the nation to provide week-long Outdoor School education for all kids.
The passage of Measure 99 dedicates up to $22 million of lottery dollars annually, establishing a permanent, stable source of funding for Outdoor School. Every Oregon middle school student in fifth or sixth grade will have the opportunity to benefit from a hands-on week of science-based outdoor education. Just prior to the passage, only about half of Oregon students attended Outdoor School, and many stayed for only two or three nights.
As a result of the passage of Oregon Senate Bill 439 in 2015 , codified into law as ORS 327.390, Oregon State University Extension Service (OSU Extension) was given responsibility for distributing funds to school districts and education service districts (ESDs) to establish and operate Outdoor School programs.
OSU Extension can also use these funds to provide other types of support to educators and nonprofits that will deliver Outdoor School experiences. OSU Extension already provides leadership in outdoor and environmental education through programs such as 4-H, Oregon Natural Resources Education Program and the Oregon Environmental Literacy Program.
Funds will be distributed from the Oregon State Lottery each budget quarter (at a rate of 4 percent, up to $5.5 million per quarter). The first allocation of money from the Lottery will be distributed to OSU Extension in July 2017. We anticipate funds will be available to schools and ESDs for the 2017-2018 school year.
The Oregon Outdoor Education Coalition, Friends of Outdoor School, and Measure 99 partners will continue to advocate for full implementation of the measure to ensure every Oregon student has access to Outdoor School and outdoor education opportunities.
What is Outdoor School?
Outdoor School is a smart, time-tested, hands-on week of solid, effective science education in the field with a rich, 50+-year history in Oregon. Recognizing this, the Oregon Outdoor Education Coalition (OOEC) chose Outdoor School for All as its first outdoor education advocacy project.
History of the Effort to Provide Outdoor School for All
In 2015, the OOEC submitted the Outdoor School Bill (Senate Bill 439) to the Oregon Legislature, which nearly unanimously passed the historic bill into law. For the first time in history, Oregon had a structure, framework and management system for statewide outdoor school programming!
But despite the high level of support around the state, the Legislature did not approve the bill’s funding. So, the OOEC authorized the formation of the Outdoor School for All (OSFA) ballot measure campaign to pursue full, permanent state funding of Outdoor School for every Oregon student via Initiative Petition 67. The campaign drew significant support from a variety of community partners in all corners of the state, successfully launching a signature petition drive to place the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.
In July 2016, the OSFA Campaign submitted more than 140,000 signatures in support of IP 67, more than enough for its inclusion on the November 2016 ballot. Known as Measure 99, it asked voters to support fully funding the new Outdoor School law. The measure passed by a strong majority of voters on November 8, 2016.
Contact OSU Extension about the Outdoor School Grant Program