Public Hearing On Area Education Agency Changes

Des Moines, Iowa — A public hearing at the statehouse gave over two dozen parents and educators an opportunity to share their opinions on proposed changes in how Iowa’s nine Area Education Agencies operate.

The governor released her proposed overhaul in January. Republican senators have made some adjustments to the governor’s bill. Republicans in the House have their own alternative.

Spirit Lake Superintendent David Smith called the House plan a watered-down bill and he urged lawmakers to make most of the changes Reynolds has proposed.

David Tully of Adel, a former deputy director of the Iowa Department of Education, says his local AEA has been a safety net for his daughter who has a disability.

Ottumwa superintendent Mike McGrory says he supports the House Republicans’ plan to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

Doug Glackin, the superintendent of Woodbury Central Community School District, supports some of the changes that have been proposed, including a reduction in the salaries for top AEA managers, but he’s urging lawmakers to slow down the timeline.

Jacob Bolsom , a member of the Hubbard-Radcliff Board of Education, says if the plans as proposed are adopted, AEA services will be degraded and the state will be sued.

Megan Brink runs the AEA’s bulk purchasing program for school lunches and she told lawmakers if large districts opt out of this service, the food bills for small schools will rise.

The chairman of the House Education Committee says Wednesday night’s testimony was similar to previous input lawmakers have received about AEAs and House Republicans will continue their conversations about the bill.


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