Iowa parents express concern over funding changes for Area Education Agencies
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - Parents in Iowa say they are concerned after state lawmakers agreed to cut funding from Area Education Agencies.
These provide special education services to public and private school students, and give individual help to families of kids who have special needs.
While finalizing the state budget, lawmakers agreed to reduce funding to the nine state agencies by nearly $30 million next year.
It’s the largest of ongoing cuts AEA’s have faced for decades.
Governor Kim Reynolds has not yet signed these funding changes into law, but she says services will not be impacted.
“I truly don’t believe, if we move forward and sign the bill, that that will impact their ability to provide the services at the local level,” Reynolds said. “We appreciate what they do, but we don’t anticipate any delay.”
However, administrators with the Central Iowa AEA say less money will impact how many staff members they have, and in turn how many kids get helped.
They say children with direct services like speech, physical, or occupational therapy could get seen less often.
Mitchellville mom Amanda Tollari, whose 8-year-old daughter Natalia has special needs, said she worries about what a future with fewer services would look like.
“If these cuts come through and the services are diminished, her skills will be diminished and her ability to take care of herself [and] the ability for her to live in our home,” Tollari said. “All of that is a worry for us.”
Governor Reynolds has until June 2 to sign or veto the bill.
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