AEAs have no taxing authority and are funded through a combination of local property taxes, which flow from school districts; direct state aid; federal dollars; various grants; and sales of services. The method used to provide state aid to AEAs is referred to as a “flow through” concept. That is, AEA funding is controlled by legislatively determined amounts of property tax dollars and state funds that literally “flow through” local school district budgets to the AEA. The flow-through money is not—and has never been—district money. Those dollars cannot be “rolled-over” into a district budget.
Because Iowa's AEA system relies heavily on legislator support, it is paramount that these elected officials understand the benefits of AEA services to Iowa children and families. The AEAs need their support so that children with special needs—and their families—will find futures full of promise and hope!