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Quest Academy fails to act on state recommendations

Darcy Spears

Quest Academy fails to act on state recommendations

CREATED Dec. 17, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - The state has called for radical change in who's running a local charter school following an investigation into alleged collusion, cover-up and misuse of tax dollars.

The publicly-funded school has been the focus of an ongoing Contact 13 "You Paid for It" investigation.

Tonight.. Chief Investigator Darcy Spears asked tough questions that no one wanted to answer.

It's a meeting where parents were hoping for answers and action.

"I'm really concerned that the board has not shown that they are governing this school," said Quest parent Tracy Escher to the sound of loud applause.

The Quest Academy governing board has failed to govern their school, according to the State Public Charter School Authority.

They've been investigating multiple issues including misappropriation of tax dollars, which stems from three $5,000 checks written on the same day to Principal Connie Jordan and signed by Board President Christina Fuentes.

The state issued their conclusions and recommendations earlier this month.

"They've seen enough evidence to recommend that you step down!" Escher said to Fuentes in the board meeting.  "They've seen enough evidence that Connie Jordan should be put on at least administrative leave!"

But out of a dozen applicants, all the Quest board did at Monday evening's meeting was elect three new board members.

The rest, including Christina Fuentes, stayed in place. And so did Principal Connie Jordan.

Darcy Spears: Do you have anything to say about the state recommending that you should be on leave and that the school needs to have a new principal to move forward?

Connie Jordan: Well of course, I'm biased to that because I opened this school. I'm the founder of Quest Academy.  Since 2008 we have been academically sound, fiscally sound, financially sound and to hear all these things happen at this time is just disheartening because I know where we've been and I know where we can go.

Darcy Spears: What do you make of the state's recommendations?

Connie Jordan: I'm unable to answer that question at this time.

Christina Fuentes was unwilling to answer our questions.

Darcy Spears: Christina, can you tell me what you think about the state saying that you should be immediately replaced because you colluded with the principal to hide taxpayer dollars?  You're not gonna talk?  What about what the state said about you?

Christina Fuentes: No comment.

It's clear that many people support Principal Jordan and the current board. But watch what happens when we try to talk to them.

"Anybody want to support the principal on camera?" Spears asked a group of supporters outside the meeting.

"We want to support her, but you're gonna twist our words," answered Quest teacher Shauna Rice.

"Nobody has anything to say in support of the principal or the board on camera?" Spears asked again, but no one wanted to talk.

Quest has been in turmoil since October when allegations first surfaced.

Many teachers have quit citing a hostile work environment.

Others who've spoken out against the principal have been fired.

And students are being dragged into all the drama.

But in a school that stands divided, one thing is clear... There's a love for Quest and firm desire to save it.

"What do you do in a situation like this?  How do you fix this?" Spears asked newly elected board member Spencer Gunnerson.

"That's a great question," Gunnerson answered.  "That's what I want to look into and find out.  I don't know that one person, a new board member, is gonna fix it."

If Quest fails to appropriately respond to the state's recommendations, the school could lose its charter.

The board has hired outside agencies to conduct a forensic audit and fully examine the workplace environment.

It seems everyone is waiting on the outcome of those investigations before any decisions are made.