SALEM, Ore. -- Come November, voters likely will decide whether to dedicate permanent, long-term funding to outdoor school programs.
The Save Outdoor School for All campaign announced Thursday that it has collected more than 130,000 signatures, surpassing the 87,213 signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot. The Secretary of State's Office must verify that sufficient signatures are valid.
The initiative proposes setting aside 4 percent of lottery proceeds, not to exceed $22 million annually, to fund a full week of Outdoor School programming for every Oregon fifth- or sixth-grader.
“The amazing support we’ve received shows that Oregonians care about quality and accessibility of education for all kids, not just those whose school districts and parents can afford it," said Shelley Day, executive director of Camp Attitude Oregon, in a statement. "And it shows they understand that investing in our children’s development is economic development."
The money would come from unallocated lottery funds — dollars that are not allocated to any other permanent program currently supported by lottery revenues. Currently, unallocated lottery funds are used at the discretion of the Legislature.
Outdoor School proponents said key benefits range from short- and long-term economic development, positive economic impact and improved student performance, to helping support Oregon’s natural resources and way of life.
This measure will be accompanied by another large education measure on the November ballot, Initiative Petition 65, which would create a funding source for all Oregon school districts to spend on career technical education, early college readiness education and dropout prevention.
For more information, go to outdoorschoolforall.org.
Contact Natalie Pate at npate@StatesmanJournal.com, 503-399-6745 or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate or www.Facebook.com/nataliepatejournalist