Jun 3, 2013 11:53 PM by Steven Albritton

"PACE" Program In LPSS Could Face Cuts, Elimination

Primary Academic Creative Experiences, or "PACE," could be facing cuts or even termination. Many programs in LPSS are in a similar situation as the school district tries to cut into a $3.5 million dollar shortfall. Parents and teachers of students in the "PACE" program, all say the same thing, cutting this program would be a disservice to the students.

For Royer family, the PACE program has been blessing for their six-year-old Lucy.

"You learn lots and it's very cool," Lucy Royer said.

Lucy's mom, Cherie Royer, says her daughter goes to school with an excitement to learn and be creative.

"I see the projects that she brings home and the paperwork that she brings home. She's grasping concepts and subjects that she might not have gotten from more conventional teaching methods that she's getting from PACE," Cherie Royer said.

The program costs the parish $265,000 per year. With the budget shortfall, every dollar counts and every program is being under the microscope.

"One of the worst things that could happen is that it goes away even though everybody in Lafayette and in this parish wants to keep it," Executive Director of the Acadiana Center for the Arts Gerd Wuestemann said.

The ACA supplies teachers for the program, and budding artists in Lafayette schools.

"This creative experience can really reshape the way they deal with the school system, reshape the experience in academic achievement. It gives them confidence. It opens pathways. And all of a sudden over the years you see them turn around and become really great achievers in the schools," Wuestemann said.

This is just one of many possibilities the board is considering for trying to cut into the budget shortfall. A task which has been put on hold a third time. If the PACE program is cut it could have a trickle down effect to other programs within the parish. for instance, the Gifted and Talented program in the school system chooses many of their kids from the PACE program.

"It would be a total tragedy. I cant imagine not having those artists around. It would cut out so much for those children," Gifted and Talented Teacher Amanda Newbery said.



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