Area Education Agencies (AEAs)

Area education agencies (AEAs) provide essential services to PK-12 students. We support state policies that provide full and equitable funding across all area education agencies to provide essential services in a cost-effective manner to students and school districts. 

Pro-Tip: Talking points are an explanation of the problem and the broad public policy that could be the solution. Talking points can be expanded upon by using your district's stories and data. 

Legislative asks are the specific policy proposals we think the legislature should enact to make progress toward solving an issue. 

AEAs provide essential services to students and school districts, including: 

  • Special education;
  • Technology;
  • Professional Development;
  • Curriculum assessment;
  • Student assessment data analysis;
  • Teacher training on social-emotional learning and mental health services for students in schools; and  
  • Online remote learning platform for students.


Legislative Ask

Engage in broad stakeholder conversations to identify what AEA services need to be improved, developed or eliminated. 

Provide adequate funding to maintain the ability to provide essential services to students in public and non-public schools 

What Your May Hear in Response 

In any conversation with a legislator, it’s good to anticipate what responses you might hear so you can be prepared to address any outstanding concerns. As you advocate for the AEAs: 

You might hear a misconception that AEAs have significantly expanded their scope of services beyond the core mission of special education service.  

Talking Point: 

  • While the AEA is best known for its support of students with special needs, from its inception the AEA system was designed to support all children including those in general education settings. Funding and planning for Iowa’s Area Education Agencies has always reflected an intention to support the needs of the whole child, including those who benefit from special education services.  

You might hear a statement regarding performance gaps among students receiving special education services. 

Talking Points:

  • Iowa’s AEAs work closely with educators and families and, together, use many tools to measure the successful outcomes for students. This is a combined focus among everyone in education.  
  • Student equity is always a focus of the AEA system and our educational partners. We’re continually engaged in   continuous improvement processes to support our districts with the challenges of supporting our area’s growing population of students in poverty, those with language barriers, and those with special education needs. 

You might hear that it’s time for a comprehensive review of the AEAs so we can assess opportunities for improvement, including more closely aligning AEAs with the Department of Education.

Talking Point:

  • Iowa’s Area Education Agencies are continually engaged in continuous improvement, and believe a dialogue around potential changes to the system should include input from a broad, representative body of local and state stakeholders to ensure the system reflects the needs of districts and children in every Iowa county. 

    AEA Tools & Resources

    HF 2612 Summary: A full summary of the AEA reform bill, HF 2612, which was signed by Governor Reynolds on March 27, 2024.

    Advocate for the AEAs: Get all the facts on the governor's AEA proposal HSB 542 and how you can best advocate for the AEAs in conversations with your legislators. 

    AEA Shared Myths vs Facts: Get all the facts on Iowa's Area Education Agencies. 

    Iowa's Area Education Agencies Programs and Services: A comprehensive list of services provided to students, families, educators and schools by the AEAs.

    Map of Iowa Legislative House Districts: A map outlining Iowa's legislative House districts and their corresponding AEAs and school districts. 

    Map of Iowa Legislative Senate Districts: A map outlining Iowa's legislative Senate districts and their corresponding AEAs and school districts. 

    Iowa's Area Education Agencies: A map outlining Iowa's counties and their corresponding AEA.

    AEA All Funds Fiscal Facts: The funds received and used by the AEA are much more than just the General Fund. In a few pie charts, all funds, revenues and expenditures of the AEA are shown and answer the questions: where does our AEA’s funding come from, what are all the funds used for, and how big is our All Funds budget anyway?

    AEA General Fund Fiscal Facts: AEA general funds account for the largest portion of all AEA funds. See detailed information on where the revenue comes from, how the AEAs spends those funds, and trend data on revenues vs. expenditures.


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