" School districts Hire Behavior Analysts, Save Money - Lots of Money.
Eric Burkholder, Dublin Unified School District; Chelsea J. Wilhite, University of Nevada, Reno; Rebecca Peck, Livermore Unified School District; Carla A. Epps, and Julia H. Fiebig, San Ramon Valley Unified School District; Lorien Quirk and Joel Vidovic, Mount Diablo Unified School District.
San Francisco - In the current financial climate, states are cutting funding to public school districts. Districts are investigating service delivery models in attempts to determine cost-effective ways to provide services to students, including those eligible for special education. School districts' critical examination of costs extends to services historically provided by behaviorally-oriented, non-public agencies. Now some California districts have hired board certified behavior analysts to provide behavior analytic services as full-time district employees, rather than contracting the same service, and money is being saved.
The addition of a full-time behavior analyst as a school district employee can have many impacts on the service delivery system within a school district. The impact of having an in-house behavior analyst may increase staff ability to manage students' behaviors, increase capacity to serve students with autism and other disorders and allow better service delivery of services using scientifically validated techniques and it saves cash. Three school districts in California have found that the addition of full-time behavior analysts is a cost effective approach to delivering these services.
The three suburban school districts are located in California's San Francisco Bay Area. Dublin United States School District, Mount Diablo Unified School District and San Ramon Valley Unified School District. All three, prior to hiring behavior analysts, had significant expenditures for behavioral consultants and behavioral non-public agencies that serve special education students. The services took several forms, including individualized consultation services written into students' IEPs, class-wide consultation as part of ongoing service delivery, individual educational evaluations and staff training. As part of cost control and quality control all three schools decided to hire board certified behavior analysts (BCBA's) full-time.
All three school districts reported an average reduction in costs compared to when they had contracted behavioral services: $244,108 per behavior analyst hired! "Reprinted with permission from Behavior Analysis Digest International.
© 2010 Regina G. Claypool-Frey
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