AEAs are authorized to lease, purchase, or lease-purchase facilities and buildings necessary to provide authorized programs and services, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education or its designee, by Iowa Code section 273.3, paragraph 7. Unlike school districts, AEAs do not have taxing authority, and therefore, do not have either a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) or bond issues. This means that funding for any debt repayments or major capital expenditures originate from the AEA's controlled budget in its General Fund. With the approval of the State Board of Education or its designee, the AEA may transfer money from its General Fund to either the debt service fund or a capital project fund, as appropriate, only when a payment is due to service debt or a payment is due on a bill for construction, repair or remodeling.
The following memorandum was provided to AEAs in 2011 as guidance on Department review of requests and financing for lease-purchases.