kitchen table math, the sequel: increase in special education spending in Scarsdale

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

increase in special education spending in Scarsdale

Citizens Budget Commission data on increase in general education versus special education spending in NY 2000-01 through 2009-2010:

Scarsdale per pupil spending
2000-01 - 2009-10
Gen Ed: $10,513
Gen Ed: $17,324
% change: 65%

2001-10 - 2009-10
SPED: $18,202
SPED: $43,130
% change: 136%

I'm guessing this increase is related to No Child Left Behind's requirement that most students in special education pass the same state tests general education students pass.

On the other hand, most of Scarsdale's SPED students would have passed the tests without any increase in spending, same as the general education students. New York's tests were too easy.

So I don't know what to make of this.

Years ago, an education attorney told me: "No Child Left Behind is really a special education law."

No Child Left Behind and Special Education Explained
Our Children Left Behind: NCLB and Special Education


Crimson Wife said...

I'd be willing to bet that a good chunk of the increase is due to the autism epidemic.

I went to a meeting held by district administrators for special ed parents a couple weeks ago. At the meeting, I learned that the number of kids in the district with an autism diagnosis has tripled since 2002. There are 82 new kids since the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year alone (including my daughter).

Autism is incredibly expensive for special ed because of the low teacher:student ratio needed and all the related services like speech & occupational therapy, ABA, social skills training, etc.

Anonymous said...

Is this the same district referred to in this link?:
This seems to indicate that even the general ed students are not doing that well once they leave elementary school

Catherine Johnson said...

Anonymous - GOOD LORD

Can those figures possibly be true?

Scarsdale is one of the wealthiest districts in the country (I believe it's in the top 10, in fact).

Parents are highly educated (and they hire many, many tutors).

I am gobsmacked.

Catherine Johnson said...

Crimson Wife - I don't **think** increased autism is the explanation here .... based in my district's experience.

New York already has a requirement that SPED kids get tiny class size; this is true for any kid with a severe disability ... and those laws were in place prior to 2000.

In my district, even if the number of autistic kids tripled, that would put the number of severely autistic kids at .... 10 at the very most. Those kids go into the already-existing autism classroom, and ride the already-existing SPED bus, and the main extra expenditure is a one-on-one aide (low pay).

If the New American Foundation data is correct, Scarsdale has had no net increase in SPED students since 2007, at least:

8.5% identified

Asperger's kids don't get much in the way of expensive extra services.