Republicans’ unpopular AEA law is already proving to be disastrous for Iowa schools, children

A bill to overhaul Iowa’s AEAs that Kim Reynolds forced through the legislature earlier this year is already having disastrous consequences on Iowa schools, children and workers.

Nearly 350 workers who provide essential services for Iowa schools including crisis response, mental health support and media services have left their jobs with Iowa AEAs.

Seven of nine of Iowa’s AEAs say they already expect higher staff turnover in the 2023-2024 school year than compared with previous years, and five of the AEAs say their turnover rate is the highest in the last five years. 

These high turnover rates affect all 9 of Iowa’s AEAs. Here’s how many workers who have already left their jobs:

  • Central Rivers AEA: 68
  • Green Hills AEA: 30
  • Great Prairie AEA: 32
  • Grant Wood AEA: 50
  • Heartland AEA: 70
  • Keystone AEA: 19
  • Mississippi Bend AEA: 31
  • Northwest AEA: 15
  • Prairie Lakes AEA: 26

Nathan Wood, chief administrator of Great Prairie AEA, told the Des Moines Register that a recent staff survey found 62% of the AEA’s employees said they had searched for a different job in the last month because of the prospect of AEA legislation.

“Iowans haven’t liked this AEA law from the moment it was introduced as a bill because they knew the results would be disastrous for Iowa’s children and schools. These 350 people who are leaving their jobs because of Kim Reynolds’ cuts to AEAs provide essential services to make sure our students feel safe at school and so that all students can receive the best education possible by learning at their own pace,” said IDP Chair Rita Hart. “Republicans went too far by passing this bill. They have made it extremely clear that it’s time to bring some common sense and balance back to the statehouse.”