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Chief of neighboring AEA takes on Mississippi Bend AEA

Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency

Two of Iowa's area education agencies, or AEAs, now share a chief administrator.

Earlier this month, the Mississippi Bend AEA's board approved a contract with the Grant Wood AEA. The head of the latter, John Speer, will now lead both agencies until the end of June.

"We have two really good AEAs here that sit next to each other and we thought we could learn a lot from each other," he said.

The former chief administrator of the Mississippi Bend AEA retired at the end of January.

"Both agencies saw this as a way to try a situation that could provide some efficiencies, obviously there's a cost savings when you share a chief administrator."

The agreement does not include a pay raise.

It comes as Gov. Kim Reynolds' bill to overhaul Iowa's special education system moves through the statehouse. The bill would cut AEA funding and give the state more authority over the agencies.

Speer says legislators should work with AEAs and families.

"We just hope that whatever bill, if any, that passes the legislature really seeks to make the system stronger, rather than to degrade the system."

Together, the Mississippi Bend and Grant Wood AEAs provide special education services to over 50 public school districts, including Davenport and Bettendorf, and nearly 40 non-public schools.

Rachel graduated from Michigan State University's J-School and has a background in broadcast and environmental journalism. Before WVIK, she worked for WKAR Public Media, Great Lakes Now, and more. In her free time, she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with her cat.