Quest charter school still working on next year | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Quest charter school still working on next year

Posted By on Wed, May 14, 2014 at 7:16 AM

The proposed Quest charter middle school for west Little Rock was dealt a setback when the state Board of Education denied its proposal for a new location on Hardin Road, but it hasn't given up on trying to find a way to open next year. Meanwhile, the company that will operate the school has provided some interesting information on the families of nearly 180 children who'd sought admission and now are uncertain about plans for next year.

The school's Facebook page says:

The ADE board overturned the approval to move to Hardin Road. We are still moving forward with our planning for next year. We will post more news here on Facebook when it becomes available.

I"ve been in touch with Chris Baumann, general counsel for Responsive Education Solutions, a Texas-based company that operates charter schools nationally, including roles in six others in Arkansas. He's so far not provided additional information relative to other potential sites or the company's plan for the Hardin Road building, which Responsive Ed purchased. Neighbors objected to the site as a traffic problem and the state Board of Education also questioned whether the new site altered the fundamental nature of the original application to build a school several miles farther west, on Rahling Road, in a neighborhood lacking a conventional public school district middle school.

But I was curious about the composition of the potential student body. I had asked Baumann for information on the roughly 180 children the school expected to enroll this fall — race, income of families, district of residence and current schools. He said the applications didn't include data on race and income and wouldn't be available until the school opened. But he did provide the following information on current residences and current schools.

Interesting, I think. The draw was by no means simply from the Little Rock School District (though lead organizer Gary Newton, the Walton-financed school lobbyist, spends a great deal of his time criticizing LRSD). More interesting is where students are attending now. About a quarter would come from home schools or private schools. 35 of 93 sixth-graders would come from Little Rock's Roberts Elementary, the popular and successful elementary that doesn't have a neighborhood middle school, though the School Board is working on it.

A PS — Responsive Ed responded helpfully and expeditiously (and I presume accurately and fully) to my request. It's a good course to follow  in the future with the state Board.

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