The state-mandated consolidation of the agencies that provide Iowa schools with training for teachers and administrators and other services continues. The Northern Trails Area Education Agency Board of Directors has approved a merger with two other Iowa agencies. Board Chief Administrator Dean Meier says in order for the merger to go ahead, boards from A-E-A Six, based in Marshalltown, and A-E-A Seven, based in Cedar Falls will also need to approve the plan. The merger would be significant in size as it would have more than 900 employees, and serve 61 school districts.Meier noted that while specific plans have not been made, the functioning of the A-E-A as a whole will greatly improve under the merger. The governing boards of A-E-A’s Six and Seven will vote on the merger issue next Tuesday. If approved, the merger will go into effect in July 2003. The merger is part of a plan by the State Department of Education to consolidate the operations of several area education agencies.