Monday, September 19, 2016

How much does it cost to educate a student with special needs? Nobody knows. | Michigan Radio

How much does it cost to educate a student with special needs? Nobody knows. | Michigan Radio:

How much does it cost to educate a student with special needs? Nobody knows. 


Figuring out all the different pots of money that go into paying for special education is complicated, but you know what’s even more complicated? Figuring out how much special education in Michigan actually costs. And if we don't know that, we don't know whether we're spending too much or too little on special ed. 
It’s so complicated even the people who specialize in school finance can’t figure it out.
The Michigan Legislature last year paid $399,000 to the Colorado-based firmAugenblick Palaich & Associates (APA) to figure out how much an adequate education costs in Michigan, and they came back with an amount: $8,667 per student plus extra for at-risk students and English-language learners.
But there was one glaring omission in the report: the cost of special education.
According to the report, “there was difficulty ensuring that the study team could account for all district expenditures for special education students.”
In other words, APA couldn’t figure out how much money is adequate for students with special needs because APA couldn’t figure out how much districts actually spend on students with special needs. 
From the report:
The study team recommends creating a system that better tracks special education expenditures from all sources. The report did not dig deeply into current special education expenditures by district, since accounting for these expenditures is complex. As mentioned in the data collection section
How much does it cost to educate a student with special needs? Nobody knows. | Michigan Radio:

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