Cost Drivers

The cost of educating difficult-to-educate youth, particularly students with disabilities and adjudicated youth can be significantly higher than the cost of educating regular students for a host of reasons. The most obvious reason for the cost difference is that this group of students often has special needs requiring more intensive services, higher staff-to-student ratios, and specialized equipment. Students with hearing impairments, for example, may require special adaptive equipment or an interpreter. Adjudicated youth may need to be in a highly controlled, secure environment as a condition of their sentencing. These costs are often a necessary, and unavoidable, cost of educating special-needs students. But other factors including some that are avoidable also drive the high cost of education for this population. These include the following.