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Reynolds Reviews Proposed AEA Overhaul

AEA Overhaul Touted

Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowans would still get a small property tax break under her updated proposal for Area Education Agencies. Earlier this month Reynolds called for AEAs to focus solely on services for students with disabilities. Reynolds originally proposed doing away with the property tax levies that support the educational and media services AEAs provide for all students and staff. She’s now proposing property taxes be retained for educational services, like curriculum for math, science and reading classes as well as for talented and gifted programs, but Reynolds says the property tax levy for AEA media services should be repealed.

Under current law, state and federal funds and local property taxes for AEA services go directly to the AEAs. Reynolds wants all of that money to go directly to school districts instead, then local school officials will decide whether to use an AEA, a private contractor or hire staff to provide the services.

School districts that wish to use an AEA digital lending library or other AEA media services would have to use money from the education services account to pay for it under the governor’s latest plan. Reynolds says her overarched goal is to improve test scores among Iowa students with disabilities, scores which have been well below the national average for years. Advocates for AEAs say the governor’s plan poses a significant threat to the quality of education Iowa children receive and a reduction in the resources and learning tools currently available to students.

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