WORCESTER – The Board of Trustees of Parents Alliance for Catholic Education (PACE) has announced that it will cease operations and dissolve the corporation effective June 30 due to budget constraints. The announcement was made by Delma Josephson, president of the board, and superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Worcester.
During the past 22-years, PACE has assisted Catholic schools with accessing more than $100 million in services via federal grants. Also, as a direct result of PACE’s advocacy and working in collaboration with more than 100 of its strategic partners, PACE has secured for Catholic schools early education vouchers and grants, school nursing services, school transportation, special education services, and home/school tutoring totaling more than $500 million in services and funds, according to Stephen Perla, executive director, and former superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Worcester.
“These services and resources have been critical to serving the needs of many students in Catholic and other non-public schools in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” she said.
The executive director kept track of bills brought forward that would affect Catholic schools, and stayed connected with legislators, school officials and parents.
“In recent months PACE had facilitated visits by state legislators to numerous Catholic schools in each of the dioceses to hear concerns from school officials and parents,” Mrs. Josephson said Friday.
Earlier this week the Senate Ways and Means Committee adopted an amendment to Massachusetts state law that would allow nonpublic school students to voluntarily take the MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) tests so that they could qualify for a John and Abigail Adams Scholarship. The amendment now moves on to a Conference Committee. PACE lobbied for the change based on input from parents of Catholic school students, she said.
PACE has sponsored Advocacy Days at the Statehouse where students would meet with legislators and hear the concerns of the schools. “We are grateful to the aides and legislators,” Mrs. Josephson said.
PACE was founded in 1994 by the Roman Catholic dioceses in Massachusetts – Archdiocese of Boston and the Dioceses of Fall River, Springfield, and Worcester – to provide advocacy for Catholic school education on behalf of all the Catholic schools in the Commonwealth. It received funding from the four dioceses as well as requesting financial support from all the schools. Over the past few years, with declining enrollments and with fewer schools, there has been more pressure on the viability of the funding model. Dioceses have also been faced with trying to reduce spending as they face increased pressure from deficit budgets in their own operations.
“In the future, moving forward, PACE’s board recognizes that Catholic schools will need representation and a voice on Beacon Hill. We cannot give up having a voice on Beacon Hill for Catholic school students and their families,” Mrs. Josephson said.
“PACE has built wonderful partnerships,” she said. “I look forward to working with the individual dioceses to find ways to continue to do what needs to be done.”
PACE’s office has been located at 14 Beacon St., Boston and will be closed as of the effective date. Future correspondence related to Catholic education can be directed to superintendent’s offices in each of the arch/dioceses of Massachusetts.
Mrs. Josephson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by call the Catholic Schools Office at 508-929-4317.