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Costs of Inclusion (updated February 2002)

What are the costs of inclusive education?

"There are increasing concerns about the relationship between special education funding and special education services. There is increasing recognition on the part of special education policy makers that special education funding provisions impact the ways in which special education programming is designed and provided. The way special education is funded can create incentives for developing programs that run counter to "best practice," and in some cases to the letter or the spirit of federal and state law. For example, funding provisions can create incentives for placing special education students in more restrictive settings instead of promoting the least restrictive environment provisions of the IDEA." (From Special Education in an Era of School Reform: Special Education Finance, Thomas B. Parrish, Center for Special Education Finance, 1997).

Following are links to ERIC digests, minibibliographies, frequently asked questions (FAQs), related Internet resources, and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

    The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

    ERIC Search Terms Used

    inclusive schools


    financial support OR cost effectiveness OR educational finance

    EJ627947 EC627531
    Title: The Costs of Inclusive and Traditional Special Education Preschool Services.
    Author(s) Odom, Samuel L.; Parrish, Thomas B.; Hikido, Christine
    Source: Journal of Special Education Leadership, v14 n1 p33-41 2001
    Publication Date: 2001
    Notes: Special Issue: Special Education Finance.
    Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Research (143)
    Journal Announcement: CIJDEC2001
    A study examined the costs of different models of inclusion and traditional special education preschool programs in five local education agencies in five states. Results show lower costs associated with more inclusive models as compared to traditional forms of special education provision on an annual and per hour basis.
    Descriptors: *Delivery Systems; *Disabilities; *Educational Finance; *Expenditure per Student; *Financial Support; *Inclusive Schools; Preschool Children; Preschool Education; Special Education; Special Programs; State School District Relationship

    EJ624771 EC627128
    Title: The Costs of Preschool Inclusion.
    Author(s) Odom, Samuel L.; Hanson, Marci J.; Lieber, Joan; Marquart, Jules; Sandall, Susan; Wolery, Ruth; Horn, Eva; Schwartz, Ilene; Beckman, Paula; Hikido, Christine; Chambers, Jay
    Source: Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, v21 n1 p46-55 Spr 2001
    Publication Date: 2001
    ISSN: 0271-1214
    Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Evaluative (142)
    Journal Announcement: CIJOCT2001
    Cost information was collected from five local education agencies that provided inclusive and traditional special education service options for preschool children with disabilities. Within-agency comparisons suggested that inclusive models were generally less expensive or comparable in cost to traditional forms of special education. Specific cost features were associated differently with different models.
    Descriptors: Comparative Analysis; *Disabilities; *Educational Finance; *Expenditure per Student; *Inclusive Schools; Preschool Education; *Program Costs; School Districts; *Special Education; Teaching Models

    ED443208 EC307900
    Title: A Comparison of the Costs and Educational Outcomes of Three Models of Service Delivery for Special Needs Students.
    Author(s) Pruslow, John T.
    Pages: 48
    Publication Date: April 26, 2000
    Notes: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000). Research supported in part by a 1999 Scholar in Policy Analysis Award.
    Sponsoring Agency: National Center for Education Statistics (ED), Washington, DC. (EDD00004)
    Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
    Document Type: Reports--Evaluative (142); Speeches/meeting papers (150)
    Journal Announcement: RIEJAN2001
    This paper reports on a cost analysis of Kings Park (New York) Central School District's expenditures for special education services and relates that analysis to a comparison of proposed models of service delivery. The first section of the paper reviews the current status of New York State's initiative to document educational outcomes for special needs students and summarizes three recommended models of service delivery derived from research and the professional literature: (1) the full inclusion model; (2) the conservationist model; and (3) the conciliatory model. The paper's second section explains the resource cost model used to identify and calculate the Kings Park special education costs for providing instructional personnel, transportation, and facility resources during 1997-98. It also describes the utility scales developed to project the study's mathematics and language arts outcomes. The paper's third section presents the final cost analysis and utility scale results for the study's three models. The study found the lowest or most favorable utility ratio was for the conciliatory model, followed by the full inclusion model. The least favorable utility ratio was for the conservationist model.
    Descriptors: *Cost Effectiveness; *Delivery Systems; *Disabilities; Elementary Secondary Education; *Inclusive Schools; Models; Outcomes of Education; Regular and Special Education Relationship; Special Needs Students; Statistical Analysis; Tables (Data); *Teaching Models
    Identifiers: *Kings Park Central School District NY; *Utility Analysis

    EJ597238 EC623678
    Title: A Longitudinal Study of the Cost Effectiveness of Educating Students with Emotional or Behavioral Disorders in a Public School Setting.
    Author(s) MacMillan, Robert C.
    Source: Behavioral Disorders, v25 n1 p65-75 Nov 1999
    Publication Date: 1999
    ISSN: 0198-7429
    Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Research (143)
    Journal Announcement: CIJJUN2000
    This study examines the pragmatic design and cost-effectiveness of the Marchus School's 1261 Project, a California program that serves elementary and middle school students with emotional or behavioral disorders within a public school setting. Case studies demonstrated that not only have costs been avoided but funds have also been saved.
    Descriptors: *Behavior Disorders; Case Studies; *Cost Effectiveness; Elementary Education; *Emotional Disturbances; *Inclusive Schools; Longitudinal Studies; Middle Schools; *Program Design; Public Schools
    Identifiers: *California

    EJ589387 EA536014
    Title: The Structure and Funding of Inclusive Schools.
    Author(s) Boscardin, Mary Lynn; Jacobsen, Stephen L.
    Source: Journal of Education Finance, v24 n4 p483-501 Spr 1999
    Publication Date: 1999
    ISSN: 0098-9495
    Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Evaluative (142)
    Journal Announcement: CIJFEB2000
    Explores ways to reduce funding fragmentation and develop a conceptual funding framework based on inclusive schooling tenets. Instead of targeting specific program units or categories of students, the inclusive school-finance framework provides more adequate support by targeting specific students. Tensions among equity, efficiency, and choice must first be eliminated.
    Descriptors: Delivery Systems; Disabilities; *Educational Equity (Finance); *Educational Finance; Elementary Secondary Education; *Inclusive Schools; Integrated Services; Models; *School Organization; *Special Needs Students
    Identifiers: *Conceptual Frameworks; Educational Adequacy

    ED425568 EC306826
    Title: The Patterns of Services Provided to Students with Disabilities.
    Author(s) Chambers, Jay G.
    Author Affiliation: American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, CA. Center for Special Education Finance.(BBB31599)
    Pages: 52
    Publication Date: September 1998
    Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC. (EDD00017)
    Contract No: H159520002
    Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC03 Plus Postage.
    Availability: Center for Special Education Finance (CSEF), American Institutes for Research, 1791 Arastradero Road, P.O. Box 1113, Palo Alto, CA 94302-1113; Tel: 650- 493-3550, ext 8500; Fax: 650-858-0958; e-mail: CSEF@air-ca.org; Web site: http:// www.csef.air.org
    Document Type: Reports--Research (143)
    Journal Announcement: RIEMAY1999
    This paper reports the results of a study of 1,300 special education students attending 81 elementary, middle, and high schools in Massachusetts that examined the patterns of variation in services delivered to students with disabilities in relation to student characteristics. Results of the study indicate that the majority of these students spent some portion of their time in regular classrooms. Almost 57 percent of the students served were in nondepartmentalized environments and spent some portion of their week receiving services from regular self-contained classroom teachers. Many students with disabilities received special education services while in the regular classroom. In many cases, the data suggest that these special education teachers served both special and regular education students while in these classrooms. More than 34 percent of the students with disabilities in nondepartmentalized environments were served in special classes, and almost 39 percent are served by a special education resource teacher in a resource room. For the majority of students served in nondepartmentalized and in departmentalized settings, approximately one-third of the per pupil costs of serving students with disabilities are generated within the regular classroom settings. For ungraded students, this percentage of expenditure accounted for in the regular setting falls to around 7 percent. Although only small percentages of students are involved, it appears that often students with more severe disabilities receive other specialized or extended care services from nurses, health professionals, personal nurses, aides, or other family counseling and social services.
    Descriptors: *Disabilities; Educational Finance; Elementary Secondary Education; *Expenditure per Student; Inclusive Schools; Mainstreaming; Program Costs; *Regular and Special Education Relationship; Resource Room Programs; School District Spending; Severity (of Disability); Special Classes; *Special Education; *Special Needs Students; *Student Placement
    Identifiers: *Massachusetts

    ED411656 EC305848
    Title: Cost Effectiveness of Maintaining Students with Emotional Disorders in the Public School System.
    Author(s) MacMillan, Bob; Grimes, Michael; Filler, Bill; Norton, Christie; Cooper, Nancy; Gibson, Teresa
    Pages: 12
    Publication Date: September 10, 1997
    Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
    Document Type: Reports--Descriptive (141)
    Journal Announcement: RIEFEB1998
    This report examines the cost effectiveness of the Marchus School's 599/1261 Project, one of two programs funded by the State of California, that established an inclusive education program for 17 students with serious emotional disturbances at risk for nonpublic school placements. The project teaches academic, social, and conflict resolution skills by using a social cognitive approach that fosters healthy emotional development and academic achievement. The active support and participation of each student's family is also encouraged. "Wrap around services" provided by mental health and other agencies support the classroom staff and include services such as a one-to-one assistant, a mobile therapist who provides therapy in the home and school, and a behavioral intervention specialist. As a result of the project, from August 1994 to August 1996 more than $333,000 was saved due to the avoidance of more restrictive and costly educational settings. Four of the students were moved from residential/group home settings to more normal living situations with family members, an additional savings of $70,000. The total savings as a result of the project was over $700,000 in two years. The report includes case studies for three of the students and recommendations for successful replication of the model.
    Descriptors: *Academic Achievement; *Behavior Modification; Case Studies; *Cost Effectiveness; Elementary Secondary Education; Emotional Development; *Emotional Disturbances; Family Involvement; *Inclusive Schools; *Integrated Services; Interpersonal Competence; Mainstreaming; Models; Public Schools; Social Cognition

    ED412699 EC305914
    Title: Special Education in an Era of School Reform: Special Education Finance.
    Author(s) Parrish, Thomas B.
    Author Affiliation: Federal Resource Center for Special Education, Lexington, KY.(BBB30221); American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, CA. Center for Special Education Finance.(BBB31599); Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC.(FGK00112)
    Pages: 53
    Publication Date: September 1997
    Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC. (EDD00017)
    Contract No: HS93033001
    Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC03 Plus Postage.
    Availability: Federal Resource Center, Academy for Educational Development, 1875 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20009; telephone: 202-884-8215.
    Document Type: Guides--Non-classroom (055); Information Analysis (070); Reports-- Descriptive (141)
    Journal Announcement: RIEMAR1998
    This report summarizes and discusses some of the major fiscal policy questions surrounding the funding of special education in the current era of school reform. Part 1, "Current Special Education Financing: Issues and Provisions," addresses how special education is currently funded and the different formulas used for special education funding. Issues that are driving the reform of special education funding are outlined, including the need for greater flexibility in placement and use, rising special education costs and enrollments, concerns over the efficiency of special education services, the strict categorical nature of special education services, and fiscal policies that work at cross purposes with inclusion policies. Part 2 of the report, "State and Federal Reform Initiatives" discusses different ways that governments are addressing the issues of special education funding, including census- based funding, adjusting special education funding based on student poverty, removing fiscal incentives for restrictive placements, changing the federal "incidental benefit" rule, and blended funding and service provisions. Criteria that states should consider when developing funding systems to foster effective special education programming, how states' fiscal policies can encourage integrated services, and ways states have been able to overcome difficulties in implementing fiscal reform policies are also reviewed.
    Descriptors: *Disabilities; *Economic Factors; *Educational Finance; Educational Innovation; Elementary Secondary Education; Expenditure per Student; *Finance Reform; Financial Policy; Financial Support; Inclusive Schools; Program Costs; *Special Education; *State Aid; Student Costs; Student Placement

    EJ548958 EA533664
    Title: The Interaction of Shifting Special Education Policies with State Funding Practices.
    Author(s) Jordan, Teresa S.; And Others
    Source: Journal of Education Finance, v12 n1 p43-68 Sum 1997
    Publication Date: 1997
    ISSN: 0098-9495
    Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Research (143)
    Journal Announcement: CIJJAN1998
    The policy shift to inclusion of students with disabilities in the general classroom, broad interest in school reform, and desire to implement new instructional arrangements for all students is spurring changes in state funding systems for special education. Deliver-system weights, population-based funding, and funding models should help revamp incompatible school finance programs.
    Descriptors: *Disabilities; *Educational Finance; *Educational Policy; Elementary Secondary Education; *Inclusive Schools; *Special Education; *State Aid
    Identifiers: *Funding Formulas

    ED393249 EC304693
    Title: A Cost-Benefit Comparison of Inclusive and Integrated Classes in One California District.
    Author(s) Halvorsen, Ann T.; And Others
    Pages: 41
    Publication Date: 1996
    Notes: In: California Peers Outreach Project: Application and Replication of Inclusive Models at the Local Level. Final Report; see EC 304 691.
    Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
    Document Type: Reports--Research (143)
    Journal Announcement: RIEAUG1996
    This study compared the actual resource costs and outcomes of instruction in inclusive classrooms with the costs and outcomes of special class/integrated instruction in a California school district where both types of programs were operating. Four students included in general elementary education classrooms were matched with four pupils from special education classes who spent part of their day in general education classes. Results showed that inclusive education costs were an average of 13 percent lower than those of special class placement. Comparison of general and special education resource contributions found that special education contributed only 65 percent as much of total program costs for included students when compared with special class pupils. Also, special education contributed an average of $1,655 per general education inclusive class, compared with less than $35 per class where special class students were partially integrated. Analysis of student outcomes indicated that included students interacted more with peers and general education teachers and less with special education staff than the partially integrated group, but special class students demonstrated more student-initiated interaction and a higher level of engagement. There were no differences in perceived achievement of student educational objectives.
    Descriptors: Academic Achievement; *Cost Effectiveness; Costs; *Disabilities; Elementary Education; *Inclusive Schools; Mainstreaming; *Outcomes of Education; Peer Relationship; Regular and Special Education Relationship; Resource Allocation; Social Integration; Special Classes; *Special Education; Teacher Student Relationship; Time on Task
    Identifiers: California

    ED391271 EC304520
    Title: State Special Education Funding Formulas and the Use of Separate Placements for Students with Disabilities: Exploring Linkages. CSEF Policy Paper Number 7.
    Author(s) O'Reilly, Fran E.
    Author Affiliation: American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, CA. Center for Special Education Finance.(BBB31599)
    Pages: 31
    Publication Date: December 1995
    Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC. (EDD00017)
    Contract No: H159G20002
    Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
    Document Type: Reports--Evaluative (142)
    Journal Announcement: RIEJUN1996
    This study addressed the relationship between alternative types of state funding formulas and the use of separate placements for students with disabilities, and identified other characteristics of states that might be associated with the degree to which they use separate placements for the delivery of special services. Three research questions are addressed: (1) identification of states which are high or low users of separate placements for students with disabilities; (2) identification of any relationships existing between use of separate placements and a state's type of funding mechanism; and (3) other factors associated with a state's high or low use of separate placements. First, states were ranked on their use of separate placements based on federally reported data for the 1991-92 school year. Second, components of state funding systems were reviewed to identify patterns or likely relationships. Third, state administrators in states identified as high or low users of separate placements were interviewed to discuss possible relationships. Finally, when interviews revealed that demographic characteristics might play an important role in the use of separate placements, geographic and regional relationships were investigated. States that are low users of separate placements tended to use a funding formula not explicitly linked to student placement. No single type of funding formula was found for states that ranked high in their use of separate placements. Administrators did not feel that state funding formula alone was a strong influence on student placement policy. Other factors, such as geographic features, history, and educational tradition, were identified as possible contributors to the extent of separate placements.
    Descriptors: *Disabilities; *Educational Finance; Educational Practices; Educational Trends; Elementary Secondary Education; *Financial Policy; Inclusive Schools; Mainstreaming; *Regular and Special Education Relationship; State Regulation; State Standards; *Student Placement
    Identifiers: *Funding Formulas

    ED391269 EC304518
    Title: Fiscal Issues Related to the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities.
    Author(s) Parrish, Thomas B.
    Author Affiliation: American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, Palo Alto, CA. Center for Special Education Finance. (BBB31599)
    Source: CSEF Brief, n7 Fall 1995 Pages: 5
    Publication Date: 1995
    Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC. (EDD00017)
    Contract No: H159G20002
    Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
    Document Type: Collected works--Serials (022)
    Journal Announcement: RIEJUN1996
    This policy brief examines the relationship between fiscal policies in special education and the requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that students with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive environment appropriate to their needs. It discusses the effects of state fiscal policy on the provision of special education programs, focusing in particular on fiscal incentives related to the identification and placement of students with disabilities. The brief emphasizes that changes in fiscal policy alone are unlikely to effect reform. State fiscal policies affecting the placement of students with disabilities include aid differentials related to placement, separate funding mechanisms for separate placements, and separate funding for transportation. States reporting success with fiscal reform stress the need not only to remove disincentives for restricted placements, but to provide a comprehensive system of professional development and support related to the desired program reform.
    Descriptors: Change Strategies; Compliance (Legal); *Disabilities; Disability Identification; *Educational Finance; Educational Legislation; Elementary Secondary Education; Federal Legislation; *Financial Policy; *Inclusive Schools; Special Education; State Legislation; *Student Placement
    Identifiers: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

    EJ517752 EA531089
    Title: A Sense of Place: Inclusive Educational Settings for Students with Disabilities.
    Author(s) Lenk, Linda L.
    Source: Journal for a Just and Caring Education, v1 n3 p311-19 Jul 1995
    Publication Date: 1995
    ISSN: 1076-285X
    Document Type: Information Analysis (070); Journal articles (080); Legal/ Legislative/Regulatory materials (090); Reports--Evaluative (142)
    Journal Announcement: CIJJUN1996
    If recent trends for serving students with severe disabilities continue, concerns about program costs and benefits may join those of policy and best practice. This article briefly reviews the full-inclusion literature, examines recent case law, considers program costs, and provides conclusions and implications for future decision making.
    Descriptors: *Cost Effectiveness; *Court Litigation; *Educational Trends; Elementary Secondary Education; *Inclusive Schools; *Severe Disabilities; *Special Needs Students

    EJ506587 EA530845
    Does Inclusion Cost More? The Cost of Special Education.
    Mawdsley, Ralph D.
    School Business Affairs, v61 n7 p27-31 Jul 1995
    ISSN: 0036-651X
    Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142); JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
    Journal Announcement: CIJNOV95
    Whether inclusion will produce resource economies for school districts is difficult to determine. Districts that have developed inclusive models have reported mixed results. There appear to be no savings in personnel costs, although some overall reduction in transportation expenditure has occurred. Inclusion demands a more fluid approach to resource allocation.
    Descriptors: *Academic Achievement; *Behavior Modification; Case Studies; *Cost Effectiveness; Elementary Secondary Education; Emotional Development; *Emotional Disturbances; Family Involvement; *Inclusive Schools; *Integrated Services; Interpersonal Competence; Mainstreaming; Models; Public Schools; Social Cognition

    EJ492834 EA529925
    The Costs of Inclusion.
    McLaughlin, Margaret J.; Warren, Sandra Hopfengardner
    School Administrator, v51 n10 p8-12,16-19 Nov 1994
    ISSN: 0036-6439
    Document Type: EVALUATIVE REPORT (142); JOURNAL ARTICLE (080)
    Journal Announcement: CIJMAR95
    To obtain information about costs, University of Maryland researchers interviewed special education directors, principals, and other administrators in 14 schools or districts committed to including all students with disabilities. Respondents identified five affected areas: teachers and instructional assistants, transportation, facilities, materials and equipment, and professional development. Inclusion has startup costs but is probably cost effective over time.
    Descriptors: *Budgeting; *Costs; *Delivery Systems; *Disabilities; Elementary Secondary Education; *Mainstreaming; Professional Development; *Special Education; Student Transportation; Teacher Distribution
    Identifiers: *Inclusive Educational Programs

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