Budget problems may finally be over for an agency that provides special education services to schools in eastern Iowa. Thursday the State Board of Education is expected to give its final approval to plans submitted by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, based in Bettendorf.
Chief administrator Bill Decker says problems began when his predecessor expanded the staff and the state cut funding. That meant the agency did not have a balanced budget as required by the state.
"We were spending too much money on personnel and so our expenditures were at a higher level than they should have been. And so in working to take care of that there was a time where we went to finishing the year with a negative ending balance."
He put together a plan to balance the budget within 3 years, but the state board ordered the problem to be fixed within two years.
"Clearly our budget that we will submit shows that our revenues far exceed our expenditures for this and for next year, and they also did for last year."
The Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency now has 256 employees, down from 300 five years ago. It provides expert help to school districts in all or part of 6 eastern Iowa counties, from Bellevue south to Columbus Junction.