Photo: Superintendents joined Dr. Dan Cox at the capitol to visit with legislators on Feb. 5, including Russ Adams, MOC-FV CSD; Steve Webner, Le Mars CSD; Ryan Kramer, West Sioux CSD; Kim Lingenfelter, Cherokee CSD; Ken Slater, River Valley CSD; Dan Cox, Northwest AEA; and Rod Earlywine, Sgt. Bluff-Luton CSD.
DES MOINES, IOWA (Feb. 5, 2019)—More than 100 superintendents representing school districts across the state of Iowa combined forces in Des Moines this morning to rally for legislative support for education.
“This event provides an important opportunity for school leaders to have productive conversations with our elected officials about the local impact of diminished funding and what's needed to maintain quality programming for all of Iowa's students,” shared Dr. Tom Lane, Executive Director of Iowa’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs). The AEA system coordinated the event at the Capitol. “Our district and AEA leadership understand our responsibility to speak on behalf of all the students and families that we serve," he added.
Representatives from every AEA and about 100 school districts across the state spoke with legislators about the demands of public education. Some districts talked about the extension of the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) tax, while others asked for additional state policy that provides resources for school districts to use to address the complex issues of student suicide and other serious mental health-related issues. Unilaterally, the districts requested an increase in State Supplemental Aid (SSA) that provides adequate resources for students and teachers, is timely and equitable, and takes into account overall state revenue growth. Additionally, school leaders discussed the need for legislation to address the inequities of transportation costs for school districts with higher than average costs.
“Nearly every school leader we talk to shares the struggles that teachers are having with the mental health needs of their students,” added Lane. “Iowa’s AEAs are uniquely positioned to help districts with this need, and we are encouraged by conversations with our legislators and school districts to develop solutions for both urban and rural districts.”
“Today was a great day for united outreach, with educators from both rural and urban districts across the state. We look forward to working closely with our legislators to help them understand the impact of their decisions on the families and children in their respective districts,” said Lane.
With offices in Sioux City, Sioux Center, Cherokee, Denison, Le Mars and Onawa, Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA) works in partnership with public and accredited private schools in a 10-county area of northwest Iowa to help assure that all children reach their full potential. The AEA provides special education support services, media and technology services, a variety of instructional services, professional development and leadership to promote school improvement. The Iowa General Assembly created the state’s AEA system in 1975. It is widely regarded as one of the finest in the country. For more information about Northwest AEA, visit www.nwaea.org.