Welcome to a new academic year! As the new Chief Administrator with Area Education Agency 267 (AEA 267), I am honored to be leading a service agency of 615 staff members all with one single focus in mind–to work tirelessly to ensure that every child in your community achieves academically.
As an Iowa superintendent and principal for many years, I was constantly amazed at how little the public seemed to know about the services that Iowa’s Area Education Agency (AEA) system provided to our schools. Maybe it’s because schools and AEAs work so seamlessly together that parents and students hardly realized the role the AEA was playing in K-12 education. I’m on a mission to change that by helping to educate others.
As a taxpayer of Iowa, here are five quick facts about Iowa’s AEA system that you should know:
- AEAs provide hundreds of services to Iowa’s children from birth through the age of 21.
- AEAs provide specialized professional staff members to schools that they could not economically employ on their own including school psychologists, occupational therapists, reading specialists, and technology consultants (to name only a few).
- While AEAs are probably best known for services to children with special needs, Iowa’s AEA system also provides teachers with thousands of classroom materials including books, videos, iPads, cameras and other teaching tools that teachers can check out on a short or long-term basis.
- AEAs have been around since 1975 when they were created by the Iowa legislature to ensure equity in educational resources across the state. Regardless of the size or location of the school district, every child has access to the specialized services provided by their local AEA.
- AEA funding is controlled by legislatively determined amounts of property tax dollars and state funds that literally “flow through” local school district budgets to the AEA. AEAs have no direct taxing authority.
If you are a parent (or even if you don’t have a child in school), I invite you to learn more about the AEA system and how we are either directly or indirectly serving all of Iowa’s children. Your support and advocacy make a continued difference in our ongoing mission and funding.
Best for the school year!
Sam Miller is the Chief Administrator with Area Education Agency 267 based in Cedar Falls. He can be reached at 319-273-8204. Area Education Agency 267 serves over 66,000 students. In addition, over 5,000 educators rely on AEA 267 for services in special education, school technology, media and instructional/curriculum support. The agency’s service area reaches 18 counties and nearly 9,000 square miles.