DES MOINES — Governor Reynolds says she will not consider any changes in the law she signed two weeks ago that overhauls Area Education Agencies.

“No. No, I’m absolutely not,” Reynolds said. “That was the deal.”

The new plan takes effect in the 2025-26 school year. AEAs will get 90 percent of the state funding they use now to provide specialized services, like speech therapy, to students with disabilities. The Des Moines Register was first to report that some House lawmakers were hoping to adjust a different part of the plan. The new law will let school districts spend $68 million however they wish rather than on general education and media services which have been provided by AEAs. Reynolds said schools can spend that money on AEA services — or on anything else.

“That was part of the compromise between the House and the Senate, so it was the right thing to do and it doesn’t really change anything,” Reynolds said. “If they want to use the AEAs, they’ll make that decision to do that.”

Some school administrators have said they plan to use that chunk of new money on teacher salaries and other expenses. AEA officials have said they’re having staffing issues as employees resign due to uncertainty about the system’s future. Reynolds told reporters the AEAs were “top heavy” and are being “right-sized” by the plan.

“I get a ‘warn notice’ three times a week from business and industry that are laying off employees because they need to, you know, meet a budget, because things have changed, the environment is different. That’s a reality of a business and it has to be a reality of what they’re doing. They’re literally a business,” Reynolds said. “They are a provider of education, media and special education services.”

The AEA changes were the governor’s top priority for the 2024 legislative session.