Officials with the Acadiana Center for the Arts will pitch a funding proposal Tuesday to the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority in an effort to keep an endangered arts program for K-3rd graders alive after a recent decrease in federal Title I funding forced the Lafayette Parish School System’s hand in calling for its elimination. The program, called PACE (short for Primary Academic Creative Experience), has existed for more than a decade at 19 elementary schools throughout the parish.

Since its creation in 1999, AcA has administered PACE for the school system. Ill-feelings were generated between the two entities in recent months over news that the program would no longer be receiving a cut of the school system's Title I dollars. In a recent press release, however, AcA has announced a backup plan to keep the program from extinction, and on Tuesday will request assistance from the LTPFA board to the tune of $60,000. If approved, that $60,000 will be matched by a donation from an unknown entity cited in AcA's press release simply as a “corporate philanthropist." Combined, those two allocations would equal the amount the program received in wuestemann2past years from the school system’s Title I budget.

“We are grateful to LPTFA for the opportunity to present our request for funding assistance to LPTFA and look forward to working with them in an effort to continue the PACE program for the young people of Lafayette,” says AcA Executive Director Dr. Gerd Wuestemann in a prepared statement.

PACE, according to Tuesday's release:

[W]as based on the concept that children learn in a great number of ways, such as listening, speaking, acting and creating. Research has shown that the arts can be used as an enriching educational tool to further stimulate learning, and that active learning experiences are not only effective but have long term positive results. The goal of PACE is to foster the cognitive, motor, social-emotional and language development of young children through meaningful opportunities in the arts.
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