Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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What exactly does Heartland AEA do?  

The Heartland Area Education Association is the central and partially eastern Iowa “area” under Iowa’s Area Education Association. The counties included in the Heartland area are Carroll, Audubon, Guthrie, Dallas, Boone, Madison, Story, Warren, Marion, Jasper and, of course, Polk.

Some of what the Heartland AEA does involves school-community planning, professional development, support curriculum, instruction and assessment to improve student learning, ensure diverse learning needs are met, support services that are multicultural, gender fair, provide media services, school technology services, while providing leadership and management for schools. 

“AEA’s were created to provide equitable, efficient and economic services and serve all public and accredited non-public schools. Even before a student enters the education system, AEA’s provide services through Early ACCESS to give children and families the building blocks and skills to meet milestones and lifelong goals,” said Caitlin DeMoss, Heartland AEA Professional Learning Registrar in a submitted article. 

While Gov. Kim Reynolds’ original bill to overhaul Iowa’s AEAs, HSB 542, stalled, after several amendments, House File 2612 made its way through the Iowa legislature. As of March 27, the Iowa Senate has passed House File 2612 and sent it to Gov. Reynolds’ desk. Should Gov. Reynolds sign the bill, there will be no changes to AEA funding in the upcoming school year. The following year, however, AEAs will receive 90% of the funding they currently receive for special education services, with the other 10% going to school districts, and School districts will have control over all the state funding for media and general education services that currently go to the AEAs.


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Do Drake Relays tickets continue to sell out?

The Drake Relays have become a massive event in Des Moines. While track and field doesn’t have the popularity of football, wrestling or basketball in Iowa, the Drake Relays do pull in thousands of attendees each year to watch some of the best track talents in Iowa and around the country.

According to the Drake University publication, “Drake Relays, 75 Years of Excellence,” the first Relays were held in 1910 with 100 attendees and 82 athletes, all of which were from Iowa high schools and colleges. By 1922, the event had grown to two days with more than 10,000 spectators.  

A lane expansion in 2006 shortened capacity from 18,000 seats to 14,557. The Relays had no problems selling out prior to 2006, and this change certainly didn’t hurt. According to a press release from Drake University after the 2023 Relays, the event was sold out for the 56th time in a row. There’s little doubt that the event this year, held on April 24-27, will extend the streak to 57. 


How will the increase in teacher salaries be funded? 

Teacher salaries may increase under a bill that recently passed through the Iowa House of Representatives. The bill, House File 2611, would raise a teacher’s starting salary to $47,500 in the first year and to $50,000 in the second year. 

A large portion of the funding for the raise in salaries is coming from the state government. The bill allocates $22 million to supplement the salaries of experienced teachers and $14 million to help schools increase pay for support staff. n

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Summer Stir - June 2024