When you go shopping, do you look for the best value?

Wouldn’t you expect schools to do the same?

Educators and parents are interested in anything that helps children learn in a cost-effective and positive way. Unfortunately, finding funds to purchase equipment that has been proven to be beneficial to the majority of students is still difficult. The best way to address this problem may be to show the administrators that over time they would more than likely save money for the district as a result of the use of the sound field amplification equipment.

The results of the MARRS Project showed that amplification was more cost effective than supplementary resource room instruction in:

· Staff utilization (requiring fewer personnel to achieve the same or superior academic growth)

· Lower initial and continuing educational costs and

· Personal costs to students who avoided the stigma, segregation and restriction of special placement.

Over a five year period, Putnam County School District in Ohio phased in 60 soundfield amplification systems to help identified students with learning disabilities hear more easily in the mainstreamed classroom setting. The number of students placed in learning disabilities programs declined nearly 40% during that time. Since costs vary from one district to another, the following formula could be used to project possible savings in your district:

A= Cost per year of placing a child in special education

B=Number of school years not requiring special programming

C=Total savings per student (keeping special education costs constant)

D=number of student not needing special education assistance because of amplification intervention

A x B = C
C x D = Projected minimum savings over B no. of years.

Cost Breakdown Comparison

The life expectancy of a classroom computer, based on the industry standards for average obsolescence is 3-5 years. Software can become obsolete even sooner. Take into consideration that only one student can use a computer at a time.

The life expectancy of a classroom Soundfield system is, as yet, unknown. We know that systems installed almost 10 years ago, that have been properly maintained, are still functioning normally. So, for the sake of this comparison, we’ll give computers the benefit of the doubt and give them a 5 year life expectancy. We’ll give Soundfield systems a 10 year life expectancy for performance to date. Let’s also use the round figure of $1000 initial cost and $100 per year average maintenance cost for both pieces of technology.

Computer: £1000.00 Initial Cost

£500.00 5 years of maintenance

£1500.00/5 years use = £300.00 per year

10 students per year = £30.00/student/year based on average computer/student ratio one at a time user benefit

Soundfield: £1000.00 Initial Cost

£1000.00 10 years of maintenance

£2000.00/10 years use = £200.00 per year

30 students* per year = £6.66/student/year *all students, all day user benefit

By using this formula, you can see that the Soundfield System gives a better value for the price. And as more years pass with these same systems still functioning, the cost continues to go down and the value goes up.

Funding Tips

Classroom Amplification is funded in various ways. The day will come when the amplification units will be funded by all schools for all classrooms as computers are, but for now we have to work a little harder for our funding sources.

Classroom Amplification Systems are funded by:

· School Districts

· Individual Teachers

· Employment Services for teachers that have severe voice disorders

· Special Education Funds

· Technology Funds

· Grants

· Educational Foundations

· Volunteer Organizations