Governor Calls For Changes In Area Education Agencies  

Des Moines, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds says it’s time for a comprehensive review of Iowa’s nine Area Education Agencies that mainly provide services to children with disabilities.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says the AEAs are a bureaucracy that’s been in place for 50 years.

The governor says changes are necessary in Area Education Agencies after statewide tests found students with disabilities scored up to 50 points lower on math than the statewide average. Whitver says the per pupil cost of AEA services is above the national average.

About 70 percent of the work at AEAs supports children with disabilities, but the AEAs provide other services like speech therapy for students and curriculum advice for teachers. House Speaker Pat Grassley expects the governor to make a proposal that refocuses the AEAs on the core mission of special education services.

Senate Democratic Leader Pam Jochum says reducing AEA services would be a hit to rural school districts.

The AEAs provide services to children with disabilities from birth until the age of 21. Jochum’s daughter, Sarah, was born in 1977 with a unique intellectual disability and Jochum says she benefitted from AEA guidance when Sarah was a toddler.

Jochum says that assistance is critical for a child with disabilities who will be entering their local school system in a few years.



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