Two of the state’s 15 Area Education Agencies, headquartered in Fort Dodge and Cylinder, will merge. The Area Education Agencies were created 25 years ago to help supplement the education provided by local school districts. Spokeswoman Connie Johnson says several reasons prompted the vote to merge the Lakeland and Arrowhead A-E-As. They include sharing services, administrative leadership, and a legislative study suggested reorganizing A-E-A’s. That study found a need for changes in nine of the A-E-A’s in the face of declining enrollment and revenues for school districts. Johnson says details must be worked out. They’re talking over how the two agencies will share an administrator and business manager, then they’ll set up a structure to deliver their services. Johnson says one reason for the merger is that Lakeland A-E-A administrator Al Wood will retire after this school year. Once the merger’s complete, the two area education agencies will serve a fourteen-county region in northwest Iowa.
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