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It was a busy week in the Iowa House with a couple of late nights of debate. But the time was well worth it. We made kids safer in school by passing House File 2586. We prioritized history in education with the passage of House File 2544. We protected Iowa nursing homes and other healthcare institutions from being gouged by temporary staffing agencies. We expanded the types of cancers covered by death and disability benefits for firefighters and first responders. And there is much more. It was a great week in the Iowa House.

The Iowa House’s AEA Bill

The proposals to improve the AEA system in Iowa have gotten a lot of attention this year. Between the Governor’s original proposal, the House’s proposal, and the amendments that have been added to the House bill, I can’t blame anyone who has had a hard time keeping track of what is actually in the proposal we passed yesterday in the Iowa House.

It’s important to note that when the House decided to craft our own bill to improve the current AEA system, we brought the AEAs, parents, and school superintendents to the table to help us craft a plan that was workable for everyone involved. One of the biggest concerns we heard was from parents who were worried there would be disruptions to their child’s special education services. So we ensured in this bill that no changes would be made to special education services. 

Let’s take a moment to lay out exactly what was in the final version of the House’s bill. Let’s start with what this bill does NOT do:

  • There will be no disruption to special education services.
  • This bill does not terminate any employees of the AEAs.
  • This bill does not prohibit the AEAs ability to perform any of the services they do now.

The following table explains the changes that will take place each year under our plan.

Again, the AEAs had a hand in crafting this legislation with us. In the end, the AEAs, Rural School Advocates of Iowa, School Administrators of Iowa, and Iowa Association of School Boards all registered neutral on our bill. The next time someone tells you our bill “guts the AEAs” or “hurts students” please know that if the bill actually did that, these groups would have certainly registered opposed.

Author: Pat Grassley


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