Greetings from the Statehouse: Area Education Agency Update

By Representative Michael Bergan

This week has been far busier than the last as many bills were passed through their respective subcommittees. I have been assigned to work on five subcommittees this week. Two of which reflect adjustments to our state libraries system as clean up bills following realignment of state departments last year. One addresses licensing of nursing home administrators and another addresses technical changes to adult abuse evaluations.  The fifth bill assigned involves services available through pregnancy resource centers. The Capitol had many visitors this week, including volunteer firefighters who braved a different kind of heat in the annual chili cook-off.

Area Education Agency Update

As a result of the Governor’s proposed reforms to Area Education Agencies, the AEA’s have been a very hot topic so far this session. At this point, the Governor’s office has stated that an amendment to the original bill is being proposed that shifts the control of state and federal special education funding from the AEA’s to local public school districts. It also allows schools to retain their share of the AEA funding for general education services. The AEA’s would continue to provide all special education services they do now, including Child Find and Early Access for children birth to three. AEA’s would also provide general education services and media services if requested by schools and approved by the Department of Education. Under the Governor’s revised plan, special education oversight will shift to the Iowa Department of Education for accountability, transparency, and improved outcomes of students with disabilities.

Relevant Sources: Area Education Agency Update

Many have asked to see the education scores that the Governor’s office references as part of the basis for the reform.

  • NAEP: Since 2017, Iowa students with disabilities ranked 30th or worse on 9 of 12 assessments. https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/profiles/stateprofile/overview/IA?cti=PgTab_OT&chort=1&sub=MAT&sj=IA&fs=Grade&st=MN&year=2022R3&sg=Gender%3A%20Male%20vs.%20Female&sgv=Difference&ts=Single%20Year&sfj=NP
  • ISASP: Spring 2023 assessment results show a 41% proficiency gap for students with disabilities as compared to overall student results. https://iowa.pearsonaccess.com/reporting-resources/
  • https://www.iaschoolperformance.gov/ECP/Home/Index
  • The U.S. Department of Education has identified Iowa as “needs assistance” for implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act since 2018.
  • https://sites.ed.gov/idea/idea-files/2023-determination-letters-on-state-implementation-of-idea/

I continue to gather information and await the draft language of the Governor’s expected amendment.

Guests at the Capitol

On Wednesday I was able to do one of my favorite things: give an extended dome tour to some of my constituents from Waucoma. I always enjoy showing visitors some of the more exclusive sites in our great state’s Capitol. Wednesday afternoon was also the return of the volunteer firefighter’s annual chili cook-off. Having sampled a range of delicious chili, I decided that the group from Waucoma was the best and awarded them with my vote, subsequently resulting in their victory in the cook-off. To finish my day on Thursday, I received a visit from members of the FaDSS Program of Northeast Iowa.

Upcoming events

Saturday, Feb. 10, at 9 a.m. in Arlington is a Town Hall Event. It will be hosted at the Arlington Community Center.

Saturday, Feb. 10, at 11:30 a.m. in Cresco is a Town Hall Event. It will be hosted at the Farm Bureau Office.

Visiting the Capitol?

It is always an honor to meet with constituents. If you are visiting the Capitol, kindly notify me at of your intent to visit at michael.bergan@legis.iowa.gov. This will greatly assist me in the scheduling process.

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