LIMA — After 13 years, Lima’s first community school will close its doors after this school year, but officials haven’t ruled out possibly re-opening at some point.
Quest Academy families and staff have been notified that this is the last year of the school. The Rev. LaMont Monford, founder and superintendent of the school, said officials made the decision before the state department of education possibly does.
“We have not received any notice from the state as of yet, but we know we have struggled for the past two years,” Monford said. “We hate to do it. We have been successful, but I have always said if we can’t be everything we can be we need to look out for the kids.”
The school has been in academic emergency the past two years. It is the lowest rating on the state report card. The school had previously been in academic watch and continuous improvement. Monford said increased mobility of pupils coming in and out of the school has made state testing difficult. Seventy-five percent of pupils come in late in the year from other schools.
“It is just very difficult when you are operating like that,” he said, adding that the school never refused any child wanting to come to Quest. “We wanted to try to give our best effort academically and socially.”
Quest opened in 2000 at the former Jefferson School building. It later moved to Philippian Missionary Baptist Church. It has added grades over the year, and currently serves kindergarten through fifth grade. At one time the school went through eighth grade.
There are currently 120 pupils and about 15 staff members. Monford said parents are upset about the school closing and hope it will re-open. Monford said that is possible, but definitely not next school year.
“Whatever we do in the future, we need to go back and really look at it,” he said. “I would rather go ahead and close and get a team of educators and minds together and see what we can do to make this work for students.”
Monford said the church is looking at after-school and summer programs, which it offered in the past. A daycare and preschool are also possible in the future.