Since your guests say they don't know what a self-contained classroom is, I will offer them a day spent volunteering in my son's classroom so they can get first-hand experience. Likewise I expect that they would want to volunteer a day with an art teacher or band director since they don't have experience with that either.
Apparently knowing what you're talking about before you open your mouth is a foreign concept to you folks. I have two sons in self-contained autism classrooms. Believe me, the school district does not want to have students in these classrooms -- in addition to the space issue, these classrooms have specially trained teachers and usually a couple of assistants, so they are expensive. Students are only placed there when it's absolutely necessary. And while I know WCTA doesn't give a rat's ass about special-needs children (or any children in Wake County, for that matter) remember that the state is a legal obligation to provide them with an education. So no, you can't just lock my kids in a closet or ship them off to an institution, as much as you might like to. Thank God you morons aren't in charge of making education policy.
So, what's the next brilliant suggestion?? Separate water fountains for our special needs kids? Oh, hang on...that would be too expensive too, we can just drink out of a hose out back. You have no idea what you are talking about. Those classrooms were designed specifically for our kids and their needs. There is a little thing called FAPE -- Free and APPROPRIATE Education and it is guaranteed by The American's with Disabilities in Education Act. This means, and I will write in small words you can understand, that our kids education LEGALLY has to be appropriate to their needs. Our kids are often educated on life skills just so they can be in a classroom to learn. They often are not toilet trained when the rest of children are so they need immediate access to bathrooms at all times. I guess I should mention this to you, b/c next you will probably suggest we put their classrooms IN bathrooms. That would be a nice, small space that wouldn't bother anyone else. What an idiot. I think maybe you need to go back to the basics of knowing what you speak about before you actually open your mouth and use it.
The laws that mandate special education for children who need it are federal and much of the funding flows from federal funding so the county can't decide not to provide appropriate classrooms. If they choose not to, and there have been instances where they have in the past, any savings would be eaten away by multiple lawsuits by the federal government as well as parents' groups.