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Peoria Public Schools OK's Shortened Quest Charter Renewal

After months of debate, Peoria Public Schools has agreed to a shortened, two-year agreement with Quest Charter Academy.

Quest Charter Academy has received the agreements in five year periods since 2010, but when the district’s board met in November to vote on the next one, members had concerns. Employee certifications, the quality of the school’s special education programs, student turnover, and teacher retention were among some of the goals set by the district that Quest Charter Academy had failed to meet.

A lengthy debate led the board to put together a two year conditional renewal to the charter. That renewal was the main focus of Tuesday's board meeting. School District Attorney Stanley Eisenhammer covered the biggest changes to the document, including measures aimed at the charter school’s issues with special education.

"The biggest change is that Quest is now going to be in charge of their special education students, just as they were in charge of their regular students," Eisenhammer said.

Other changes included clearer, mutual goals made by the charter school and the district, streamlining the document, and a mandatory quarterly meeting between the administration of Quest, public school administrators, and board members.

The renewal passed unanimously, and now goes on to the State Board of Education for approval. It will have to be renewed in June 2022.

The agreement also includes a funding budget from the district of just under $7 million, 100 percent of the Academy’s operating expenses.

Editor's note: In an on-air version, WCBU referred to Quest as a "private school." It is a public charter school. We regret the error and have corrected it for future broadcasts.

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