(Radio Iowa) Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says her push to overhaul Area Education Agencies is designed to address a bloated bureaucracy and 20 years of lagging test scores among Iowa students with disabilities. Reynolds says Iowa is a small state and does not need nine A-E-As.
Reynolds originally proposed having Iowa’s nine A-E-As focus solely on special education services for disabled students, but she’s adjusting her plan to retain other services like a media lending library and curriculum outlines for teachers. Reynolds says her goal is to have the Iowa Department of Education develop a list of approved A-E-A services schools may choose to use.
Reynolds has not proposed closing or consolidating A-E-As, but she has asked legislators to hire dozens more staff in the Iowa Department of Education to oversee the 34-hundred people who work in Area Education Agencies around the state.
Reynolds says her realignment will let local school districts choose whether to continue using A-E-A services, hire their own staff, or find a private vendor with the combination of state, federal and local property taxes that under current law automatically funneled to the A-E-As.
Reynolds made her comments during taping of the “Iowa Press” program