The Potential of Half-Time PPOR to Spur Innovation

April 17, 2018 by Tony Lewis

One of the challenges of innovation is to find the space – the time and place – to try new things.  To change up the old paradigm and attempt to implement something new. There is such a place. It exists today in the world of half-time per pupil operating revenue (PPOR).

PPOR is the money attached to each child by the state. It’s a mix of local (property tax) and state (general fund). In Colorado, it varies from about $20,000 per year (like in some Eastern Plains districts) to below $10,000 per year (in some Front Range districts). It averages about $6,546 (FY 2017), but will be increasing some in FY 2018.

Half-time PPOR is available to any student who is actually going to school half-time or less. They must complete at least 90 hours of instructional time to qualify for half-time PPOR. And there are quite a few students who do so – mostly served by districts and charter schools who offer “enrichment programs” for homeschooled students.

Half-time PPOR is only available to those students who are currently opting out of the full-time educational system. In other words, students who are not regular public-school students: homeschoolers, kids who have dropped out, and kids who are attending private school.

It’s an interesting space for us to consider. How might students get a quality education in the out-of-school space? What does that look like and how might you fund it? Could programs, not schools, access these funds? If so, in what ways?

There are currently thousands of Colorado students participating in district- and school-provided enrichment programs. These are mostly provided in third-party spaces (such as churches) and they serve homeschool students with courses that vary from art and dance, to STEM and Advanced Placement (AP). It’s a rich and interesting space – and provides an opportunity for students to gain learning experiences that may otherwise be unavailable to them.

DK is eager to continue learning about this space and use it to facilitate access to the out-of-the-ordinary learning experiences that students seek and deserve. Let me know if you too have an interest in this space – we’re always keen to partner and to learn together!

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