Posted Jan. 22, 2015 @ 10:15 pm
PEORIA — The board of Quest Charter Academy will cut ties with Concept Schools, the not-for-profit charter-school management company that has run Peoria’s public charter school since it opened in 2010.
Board members disclosed the decision during a regular board meeting Thursday in which they also announced they’ve reached a tentative agreement with Peoria School District 150 to extend the school’s charter for another five years.
Tom Fliege, vice president of the charter school board, said the two actions were not related.
Concept’s contract with Quest’s governing board, the Peoria Charter School Initiative, expires July 30. The decision not to renew the contract was not motivated by finances or the FBI investigation of the Des Plaines-based company’s handling of federal money for school technology improvements, according to Fliege.
Instead, the charter school board has always planned to eventually take over school operations, he said.
“There’s no acrimony, this was mutually agreed upon. We’ll continue to work together as the contract comes to a close.”
Concept staff, which includes Quest Principal Ali Kuran, will help with the transition. The board has tentatively selected an interim executive director, who also will help with the transition, until an executive director is hired.
Details of the tentative agreement to extend the charter school contract will be released at District 150’s board meeting Jan. 26. District 150 board members are scheduled to vote on the contract Feb. 9. Quest board members will take a vote at a special meeting that has yet to be announced. Both boards must approve the final agreement.
“As is true with any agreement, they’re not totally happy, we’re not totally happy,” Fliege said.
The charter school board wanted more money from District 150, while the district maintained it was not fair for Quest to expect more money because the school district’s revenues are declining.
The charter school board had refused District 150’s last counterproposal. Apparent delays in negotiations prompted Quest board members to discuss the administrative process for closing the school.
But negotiations started moving, according to Fliege, when he and Quest board member Will Ball began meeting with Debbie Wolfmeyer and Linda Butler, the District 150 board’s president and vice president, respectively.
Initially, board members were not fully aware that the charter school board had to have negotiations completed within a specific time frame, according to Fliege. He complimented Wolfmeyer and Butler for “having the courage” to resolve the issue.
Also, for the second time, the charter school board tabled a proposal to partner with Peoria Heights High School to offer football for Quest High School students.