1. The department of education shall develop, in consultation with the area education agencies, and establish an accreditation process for area education agencies by July 1, 1997. At a minimum, the accreditation process shall consist of the following:
a. The timely submission by an area education agency of information required by the department on forms provided by the department.
b. The use of an accreditation team appointed by the director of the department of education to conduct an evaluation, including an on-site visit of each area education agency. The team shall include, but is not limited to, department staff members, representatives from the school districts served by the area education agency being evaluated, area education agency staff members from area education agencies other than the area education agency that conducts the programs being evaluated for accreditation, and other team members with expertise as deemed appropriate by the director.
2. Prior to a visit to an area education agency, the accreditation team shall have access to that area education agency's program audit report filed with the department. After a visit to an area education agency, the accreditation team shall determine whether the accreditation standards for a program have been met and shall make a report to the director and the state board, together with a recommendation as to whether the programs of the area education agency should receive initial accreditation or remain accredited. The accreditation team shall report strengths and weaknesses, if any, for each accreditation standard and shall advise the area education agency of available resources and technical assistance to further enhance the strengths and improve areas of weakness. An area education agency may respond to the accreditation team's report.
3. The state board of education shall determine whether a program of an area education agency shall receive initial accreditation or shall remain accredited. Approval of area education agency programs by the state board shall be based upon the recommendation of the director of the department of education after a study of the factual and evaluative evidence on record about each area education agency program in terms of the accreditation standards adopted by the state board.
Approval, if granted, shall be for a term of three years. However, the state board may grant conditional approval for a term of less than three years if conditions warrant.
4. If the state board of education determines that an area education agency's program does not meet accreditation standards, the director of the department of education, in cooperation with the board of directors of the area education agency, shall establish a remediation plan prescribing the procedures that must be taken to correct deficiencies in meeting the program standards, and shall establish a deadline date for correction of the deficiencies. The remediation plan is subject to the approval of the state board.
5. The area education agency program shall remain accredited during the implementation of the remediation plan. The accreditation team shall visit the area education agency and shall determine whether the deficiencies in the standards for the program have been corrected and shall make a report and recommendation to the director and the state board of education. The state board shall review the report and recommendation and shall determine whether the deficiencies in the program have been corrected.
6. If the deficiencies in an area education program have not been corrected, the agency board shall take one of the following actions within sixty days from removal of accreditation:
a. Merge the deficient program with a program from another accredited area education agency.
b. Contract with another area education agency or other public educational institution for purposes of program delivery.
The rules developed by the state board of education for the accreditation process shall include provisions for removal of accreditation, including provisions for proper notice to the administrator of the area education agency, each member of the board of directors of the area education agency, and the superintendents and administrators of the schools of the districts served by the area education agency.
96 Acts, ch 1215, §49
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© 2001 Cornell College and League of Women Voters of Iowa
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