A Comparison of the Cost Analysis of Three Years of Special Education Costs in Danville, Virginia
Dodson-Pringle, Angela Jackson
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Since the enactment in 1975 of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (P.L. 94-142), now renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the cost of special education services has grown substantially in both absolute and relative terms (Duenas 1993). As a result, the issues such as the actual cost of special education services and the relationship of special education financing to regular education funding have become increasingly important to local, state and federal policymakers. The need for cost analysis in special education has become more important as the competition with other governmental agencies for available funds becomes more acute. As a social service, education in general and special education in particular must compete for dollars with highways, sanitation, and other services (Ysseldyke 1992). This study contributes to the need for in depth analysis of special education costs. The cost analysis method replicated in this study, called the Moche Cost Analysis of Public Education or CAPE Model, provided greater accuracy and flexibility than prior methods. The CAPE Model was used to examine and compare costs of regular elementary education, regular secondary education, elementary special education, and secondary special education. Special education costs also were compared across disability categories and service delivery environments. CAPE can be adapted easily to identify expenditures by building level and programs other than special education. CAPE calculations were completed using the LOTUS spreadsheet program.
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