|What is money but a hindrance? Take it, please.|
I was talking to another special needs parent about non-public special ed schools. When msk was in a non-public placement we never saw the bill that the school system was paying for him to attend. There were some students who's families were paying to attend, or at least the information for the school said that you could attend with your own payment (as opposed to having a school system pay). The rumor was that the price was in the $60K range - I'm emphasizing rumor and that this was more than 6 years ago, so that's a very vague number.
The discussion the other day was that $60K a year for education was just crazy. I said that you had to look at the payroll and materials before you could know that - I think msk's school had a staff to student ratio of close to 1:1 and that many of that staff had quite a lot of education and training and were probably pretty well compensated. This parent stuck with the idea that the cost was crazy and that it was only because school systems were willing to pay that much that it cost that much. He seemed to think that if individuals were paying the costs would be driven down. I'm not sure that I agree. I do know that if msk ends up getting another non-public placement, it'll probably cost quite a bit, and honestly, that's not my problem to worry about.
A similar thought comes up as we're looking at college costs for HSS. All of the schools applied to, with the exception of the two University of Maryland schools, are basically $50K/yr for 4 years. In other words $200K is the sticker price to get through college. I'm not saying I'll be handing over that amount of money - we'll be getting some amount of financial aid and hopefully some of that will be gift aid as opposed to loans. Still...$200K is a lot of money.
In another discussion with a different parent who's kid is entering college there was a question of the actual value of going to college or the differential value of going to a private college vs. going to UMBC and living at home for example. It was pretty clear that he thought anyone considering that $200K price tag was crazy. I'm not that sure. I worry about the size of University of Maryland. I worry about a "sink or swim" kind of attitude. I absolutely want HSS to live away from home when at college.
So what's the conclusion? Feels like a lot of money will be passing away from us to a lot of other people and I worry about these decisions. I hope I'm not deciding that because it's more expensive it must be better. I don't believe that and I don't want to feed into a system with costs that are spiraling out of control.
Mainly, I just worry.