A Station for Everyone
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newscast 3.27.24: Reynolds signs into law AEA changes & teacher pay increases; Dordt wins NAIA women's basketball national title; New Iowa law gives more info on property tax budget changes

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Wednesday signed into law an education bill that increases teacher salaries and puts in place an overhaul of the state’s regional Area Education Agency system.

Some of the most watched proposals of this session have been Reynolds’ pitch from January to increase teacher salaries and to change the functioning of AEA’s so that local school districts have more control of funding.

The House passed a multi-pronged measure last week that puts in place AEA changes, includes an increase in the minimum teacher salary to $50,0000 annually over two years, bumps up the salaries of other more tenured teachers to $62,000 over two years, and sets a 2.5 percent increase in state aid for schools in the 2024-25 year.

The Iowa Senate then passed that measure on Tuesday. Reynolds moved quickly to sign it on Wednesday, terming it a substantial improvement to the education system in Iowa.

The measure also creates a task force that will look into other possible changes with Area Education Agencies to come to the Legislature in 2025.

Northwest AEA Chief Administrator Dan Cox told Siouxland Public Media News that lawmakers had the timing backwards, saying that any changes should only have come after the task force first undertook the research.

Starting next year, school districts will continue using the AEAs for special education services, but districts would take control over 10 percent of state funding for those special ed supports. Next year, 40 percent of funding for general education and media services goes directly to AEAs and 60 percent moves to school districts. All those monies in year two will go directly to school districts.

Additionally, the 2024 NAIA women’s national basketball tournament in Sioux City has concluded, and a Siouxland team, Dordt University, took home the title.

The Dordt Defenders defeated Providence of Montana, 57-53, in the Battle for the Red Banner. It was the first national title for the Dordt women’s basketball program.

The national women’s tourney has been played in Sioux City since 1998. There were several days in the tourney when more than 2,000 fans visited the Tyson Events Center.

In other news, people throughout Iowa for the first time are receiving mailed notices that tell them key dates for public hearings by the three entities that use property taxes in their budgets.

Those letters went out in Woodbury County last week, summarizing when the county board of supervisors, plus when the cities in which people live and the school districts they reside will hold budget hearings to set fiscal year 2024-25 budgets.

The letters show the current property tax rates and projected next year rates, plus the dates, times and places for final public hearings before the budgets are officially set in April. All those letters are a result of a law passed by the Iowa Legislature last year to make sure people are informed of key meetings that determine property tax spending decisions.