Article Written By: Meredith Mitchell
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)- It’s official, parents in west Little Rock will have the option of sending their child to a middle school closer to home.
After an appeal from the public schools, the Arkansas board of Education decided on Friday to uphold their decision to allow for Quest Charter School to open this August.
It’s an area of town where there are currently no secondary schools. The Quest Charter School will change that.
Gary Newton, a parent and CEO of Arkansas Learns said the new School will finally provide frustrated parents in West Little Rock an option in secondary education.
“This area has been neglected for so long, generations now have gone to private school, home school, there are many examples of people actually moving, which is an economic development disaster for the community.”
Newton claimed that the Little Rock School District has failed to meet the growing demand for public secondary education in west Little Rock.
Newton said the district built a new elementary school, but those students feed into a middle school half away across town.
“You create the largest elementary school in the Little Rock School District immediately. It’s so successful that you cut out Pre-K because you need the seats.”
The charter school will begin with 220 6th through 8th graders and eventually add a grade every year for a high school.
Newton said the school will be located in an empty strip mall space along Rahling Road.
“It’s an option. It’s a choice. The whole idea is to make parents consumers. To give them options. To not trap kids in a failed system.”
Newton said while the charter does give more options to those living on the west side of town, enrollment will be open to everyone.
He’s hopeful that the Little Rock school district will follow through on establishing secondary education in West Little Rock. “Our wish was to stop begging, to get busy, create something, but still stand shoulder to shoulder with our traditional district, because it has to be excellent. If it’s not excellent than our community is doomed.”
Students will be chosen for the Quest Charter School from a blind lottery. Enrollment will begin as early as late February.
The Little Rock School District has purchased land off Highway 10, but no timeline for when they will begin construction on a secondary school.
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