Located in a remote corner of the Castle, Pace Academy’s business office is out of sight and out of mind for most students. So, too, is Pace’s operating budget. Despite the fact that Pace is funded by the families of its students rather than by tax revenue, the specifics of how this funding is allocated remains a mystery to many members of the community. Some details of the budget remain confidential, but Chief Financial Officer Jean Held provided The Knightly News with an overview of how Pace spends its money.
The operating budget is composed almost entirely of money coming from tuition and the annual fund, with a small amount of income from summer programs, athletics and facilities rent. In terms of how this money is spent, “70% of everything we bring in is for salaries and benefits for people that work at Pace Academy,” said Mrs. Held, “The rest of it goes to other programs.” These other programs include teacher budgets, facilities maintenance, global education, athletics and other specialty programs. Teacher budgets are appropriated based on individual needs. “We base our academic budgets on what we need to keep our programs up-to-date. We want to keep the programs up to Pace standards,” said Mrs. Held.
Other programs sustain themselves outside of the operating budget. Despite the fact that they generate sales of their own, Pace’s campus store and snack bar do not generate a profit for the school. Instead, they cover their own costs while providing a benefit to students. “They’re not a loss. They break even. Occasionally they make a little bit, but we look at them as a service to Pace Academy,” said Mrs. Held, “Think about a Nike sweatshirt. When you really get down to it, those cost us so much because we don’t buy them in quantity.”
Perhaps most overlooked is the importance of organizations such as the Parents’ Club, Arts Alliance and Booster Club, along with the Annual Fund campaign, to Pace’s operating budget. These groups’ contributions allow Pace Academy to balance its budget without raising tuition or cutting important programs. “We could not operate on tuition alone. We rely on gifts from our parent organizations, and we also rely on annual fund gifts from donors,” said Mrs. Held, “We have to appreciate the gifts to the annual fund, and also the hard work of those parent organizations, because they really do support our programs in a lot of ways.”