PACES Director Mary Hillman addressed changes in the popular program with members of the Perry Community School District Board of Education at their May 9 meeting.
PACES stands for Perry Academic Cultural and Enrichment Services and is a before-and after-school program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Hillman noted that the program has now fallen under the auspices of the Department of Human Services, a change from being overseen by the Department of Education.
As often occurs with bureaucratic juggling, the new changes have brought increased regulations and entanglements, all of which meant Hillman was forced to seek a rate increase of $10, the first fee raise in the eight years for the well-regarded program, which began 16 years ago.
“Now I have to use an enterprise fund, and this is the same funding source the nutrition services use,” Hillman told the board. “These are all federal funds, a whole separate budget.”
The upshot of the increased paperwork is that PACES would no longer be able to access school district funds, one of many reasons for seeking the fee-rate increase.
Among other new requirements are complete CPR and First Aid training for all staff, including high school assistants. Background checks on all employees is another new mandate imposed on the program, none of which came with an attached funding stream.
Hillman said PACES would use “Worlds of Wonder” as the theme for their summer programs, which will begin June 6 and run through August 5.
Several board members praised Hillman and her work with PACES, with the request for the rate increase unanimously approved.