Letter from LDA-IA President Patty Beyer

The Iowa’s Area Education Agencies were established in 1974 to fill a need for equal access to services for students with disabilities.  Fast forward 50 years and the Iowa Legislature has passed into law House File 2612, that will shake up the current structure and operation of AEAs.  The legislation was promoted as a means of improving achievement for students with special needs as well as raising achievement for all students.  Among other things, the law will give school districts control over all the state money for media and general education services that now go to the AEAs and allow districts to spend the funding on private vendors or to continue working with the AEAs under a “fee for service” model.  Issues immediately apparent with the new law are a lack of qualified vendors in rural areas and a reduction in AEA staff and services from decreased funding.   As with most legislation, the translation from paper to operation on the ground is the key.  As the new law is implemented, please pass along your observations, concerns, and kudos, to your own legislators as well as Senator Lynn Evans and Representative Skyler Wheeler, who were floor managers for the legislation. Read the full law here

In the meantime, the Learning Disabilities Association of Iowa (LDA-Iowa) continues to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities and provides a network of up-to-date information on best practices for identifying and supporting learning disabilities. Whether you’re looking for resources or practical solutions or just want to connect with others who understand, we can help.  Visit our website or call (515) 209-2290 to learn more about supporting individuals with learning disabilities on their journey to achieve their full potential.