Iowa Association of School Boards Summary of Gov. Reynold’s AEA Bill

January 10, 2024

Key Points:

  1. Focuses agency on special education services only, and in a fee-for-service environment

  2. Oversight of AEA is under the DE

  3. No educational services or media/tech division of the AEA

  4. Dissolves current AEA Boards of Directors and institutes new board (advisory capacity only)

  5. Merges chief administrator and special ed director positions into new position called Executive Director

  6. It’s uncertain if the bill allows us to provide fee-for-service programs in Educational Services or Media/Technology


AEA Reforms Proposed in House Study Bill 542 Introduced on January 10, 2024

AEA Governance and Operations:

  • the area education agency board of directors shall serve in an advisory capacity

  • prohibits area education agencies from holding real property, and tasks the department of administrative services with providing real property and facilities to the area education agencies

  • allows for the duplication of programs and services which are or may be provided by the community colleges (previously prohibited)

  • strikes the need to collaborate with DE to provide statewide infrastructure for educational data and removes the provision to jointly develop a three-year statewide strategic plan that supports goals adopted by the state board of education.

  • authorizes the director of DE to reorganize the area education agencies, striking school finance provisions related to a reorganized area education agency; only the director of DE has the authority to dissolve an area education agency

  • changes related to funding, standards for accrediting area education agency programs, and emergency repairs


AEA Funding

  • Beginning with the 2024-25 school budget year eliminates the area education agency categorical funding supplements for:

    • professional development

    • media services

    • educational services

    • Remaining amounts are to be deducted and paid to the applicable area education agency only if the school district has entered into an agreement with the area education agency under the bill to provide services for the applicable budget year.

  • An area education agency may use fund balances for media services or education services in a manner which the area education agency determines is appropriate to best maintain the level of required area education agency special education services.

  • Fund balances received for area education agency professional development for a budget year beginning before July 1, 2024, shall comply with the requirements of Code chapter 284 and shall be distributed to teachers pursuant to Code section 284.3A, similar to the use area education agency teacher salary supplement funds.

  • A school district’s management levy may be reduced by the department of management.

  • Allows the department of management to evaluate the amounts of property taxes levied by the school district and purposes for which such revenues are budgeted to determine the adequacy of the reduction in the school district’s total amount of property taxes.


Educational Services

  • Repeals Code section 273.6 (media centers), Code section 273.7 (additional services), and Code section 273.16 (online learning program).

Media Services

  • Strikes the requirement for area education agencies to provide media services for local school districts; a transition plan outlines the inventory, transfer, and disposal process for media center and professional development equipment and property

  • Repeals Code section 273.6 (media centers), Code section 273.7 (additional services), and Code section 273.16 (online learning program).

  • The bill requires the commission for the blind to operate and manage a library loan program for the benefit of students enrolled in school districts and nonpublic schools.


Special Education Services

  • Area education agencies may only provide special education services to school districts located in the area education agency if the school district requests to receive such services and pursuant to a contract between the school district and the area education agency. The bill establishes that the term of such contract shall not be less than two years. The bill also establishes notice requirements related to the requests to receive special education services.


AEA Staffing

  • On July 1, 2024, the employment of all area education agency administrators is terminated, unless terminated earlier by the director of the department of education; each area education agency shall have an executive director. The executive director is to be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the director of the DE.

  • The division of special education within the department of education will give preference to qualified personnel who seek employment with the division of special education because their employment with an area education agency terminated as a result of the bill;  any former employee of an area education agency whose employment with an area education agency terminated as a result of the bill and who is employed by the division of special education no later than August 1, 2024, shall not experience a break in service credit for their Iowa public employees’ retirement system benefits and shall not incur any loss in sick leave or vacation time.

  • Current law allows school districts to share operational functions with area education agencies…the bill provides that area education agencies are no longer considered political subdivisions for purposes of shared operational functions.  Supplementary weighting under Code section 257.11(5)…shall not be available to an area education agency after the budget year beginning July 1, 2023

Scroll to Top