Advancing Schools and Communities for Student Success
To provide a continuum of shared services that elevate student achievement throughout all consortium school districts
Every Student, Every Day
The Panhandle Area Educational Consortium, known as PAEC for over 49 years, is a regional educational service organization owned by its member school districts and recognized in Florida Statute 1001.451. The consortium is operated through the PAEC Board of Directors, composed of the school superintendents from the member districts and Washington County School Board, a member district, is its District of Record.
In early 2016 PAEC assembled a group of stakeholders from member districts and various roles within the organization to create a revised mission/vision to guide the organization into its second 50 years of regional leadership. This framework will guide our work as our organization continues to grow, lead, and anticipate the changing needs of our districts.
Created in 1967 by the school districts of Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Walton and Washington in northwest Florida, PAEC is Florida’s first regional educational service agency established as a non-profit, non-regulatory organization to provide cooperative, educational services. In July of 1991, Wakulla School District joined the 24 year-old organization as the first new member, and following an act of the 1994 Legislature, Jefferson and Madison counties joined. (Although Bay, due to its size, was no longer eligible to be a member district, this neighboring district continues as a very active participating school district.) Taylor joined the organization under the same legislative authority in December of 1995. On July 1, 2001, Gadsden School District joined the consortium. The newest member is FAMU Developmental Research School which joined July 2013.
Historically, PAEC grew from an early recognition by school district superintendents they could achieve better results for their students by working cooperatively. Long before PAEC was created, individual counties in the Panhandle area were cooperating in areas of mutual interest, such as shared media centers, testing programs and special education. Jackson and Holmes counties, Washington and Bay counties, and Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf and Liberty counties shared cooperative film libraries, for example.
In 1959, the Chipola Area Education Project (CAEP) was formed as a result of a NDEA, Title V Grant. This project was established to improve testing, evaluation and guidance services among the following member counties: Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Walton and Washington. Early in 1967, talk was begun about further cooperation among the CAEP school systems. Under the leadership of Jackson County School Superintendent, John Dekle Milton, a meeting of the school superintendents from the seven counties that made up the CAEP was called, and representatives from Bay and Franklin counties were invited. At this meeting, a plan was formulated for what became the Panhandle Area Educational Cooperative. Nine counties joined together to write the proposal for funding under ESEA, Title III. In July 1967, the proposal was approved, and a grant of $103,000 was awarded; thus, the Panhandle Area Educational Cooperative was born. During 1967-68, other supplemental educational centers for rural areas in Florida were funded. However, PAEC is the only originally funded regional educational center that survived.
The large array of programs and services includes, but is not limited to: professional development, curriculum support services, Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS), instructional technology, distance learning, Region I Migrant Education Program services, printing services, FloridaLearns Clearinghouse for educational materials, cooperative purchasing through Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA), contracted services, Students with Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities Network (SEDNET), program evaluation services, model school board policies and procedures, Value-Added Model software and support, Risk Management Property/Casualty, employee benefits self-insurance programs, Gateway Educational Computing (payroll and finance), and Student Data Services.
Today, PAEC continues under the leadership of its Board of Directors. The key to the organization and its success is that the responsibility for the consortium is placed directly in the hands of the school superintendents of the districts it serves.