Iowa House Votes To Cut AEA Budgets By $5-Million

NW AEANorthwest Iowa — Area Education Agencies in northwest Iowa, and across the state, would be affected by a plan currently in the Iowa House.  Republicans in the House have voted to make a five-MILLION dollar reduction in state support of Iowa’s AEAs.

Representative Ken Rizer, a Republican from Cedar Rapids, explained the plan during House debate.

The Area Education Agencies help educate students with disabilities who require “special education” classes.

That’s Representative Chris Hall, a Democrat from Sioux City who opposes the G-O-P budget plan. School districts forward local property taxes to the Area Education Agencies based on a “per pupil” formula and the state provides additional taxpayer support. Representative Patti Ruff, a Democrat from McGregor, suggests there will be staff layoffs soon as well as temporary closures at the Area Education Agencies this fall, due to the timing of when A-E-As get property tax payments.

In addition to “special education” services, A-E-As provide technology assistance, like paying the licensing fees on computer software that is used by all schools in the area. A-E-As also offer professional development for teachers. Rizer says the state has “sometimes” provided more and “sometimes” provided less to the A-E-As.

Rizer says legislators have limited resources and most of the “new” tax revenue coming into the state will be spent on the state’s K-through-12 schools.

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