Quest Charter Academy hoping for a renewed agreement with Peoria Public Schools

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PEORIA, Ill. — Quest Charter Academy is hoping to renew an agreement with Peoria Public Schools next week.

This agreement allows a board of people who weren’t elected in Peoria to operate a grade 5-12 charter school within the district.

Quest has served students for 10 years. It’s a S.T.E.A.M. school, emphasizing science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

The school received a commendable rating in the state board of education’s Illinois Report Card that was released for the 2018-2019 school year.

“We’ve worked really hard to get where we are and we intend to go out there and show that we are worth re-charting.”

Heather Oyler, Chief Development Officer for Quest Charter Academy

Jeff Adkins-Dutro, president of Peoria Federation of Teachers, said he does not want the extension to continue. He said Quest is not living up to its educational promises.

Quest keeps talking about what’s going to happen as opposed to what has happened and I think they’ve had about 10 years to make it happen and it hasn’t gotten off the ground.

Jeff Adkins-Dutro, President of the Peoria Federation of Teachers Union

Oyler adds that the school is still fairly new.

“We’re still getting started. We’ve had three graduating classes and we have a 100% graduation on to college rate. It’s a matter of showing results, it’s not necessarily all the small pieces that are a part of it,” Oyler said.

Adkins-Dutro said Quest could improve and expand its programs. He doesn’t want to take resources from the school, rather shift oversight.

“We have stem programming within District 150. What I would like to see happen is the stem school come into District 150 and not be run by a school board made up of people who don’t even live in Peoria,” he said.

However, Oyler said the students are happy to be at Quest and don’t want their programming to change.

“They [want] to stay here. They [want] to have a closer student-teacher ratio. They want to have the ability to help someone get them to college. They’re excited when they’re here,” she said.

The PPS board expects to vote on the application at a meeting held Monday, Nov. 11 at 6 p.m.

A state appeals process will be available to Quest if the board doesn’t approve the extension agreement.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the hearing to ask questions and make comments.

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