LePage to Portland Mayor: Charter School Attacks Unfounded, Inappropriate


AUGUSTA – Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage on Thursday slammed Portland’s Democratic Mayor Michael Brennan for his “innappropriate” attack on a Portland-based public charter school.

“Governor Paul R. LePage condemned today inappropriate activities that Portland’s Mayor has requested of Maine Attorney General, Janet Mills,” the Governor’s Office wrote in a statement.

Brennan sent a letter to Mills on March 22 asking her to investigate the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science on the premise of “financial mismanagement.”

In her March 27 letter of reply, Mills declined to interject the AG’s office into the dispute and pointed out that the Maine Commission on Charter Schools has the legal authority and responsibility to ensure the financial capacity of Baxter Academy.

In a letter sent Thursday to Brennan, LePage said the Mayor’s complaint is “the latest salvo in your campaign against the proposed chart school and charter schools generally.”

“I am appalled by your constant attacks upon students who simply want to better learn technology and science,” LePage wrote.

“Mr. Mayor, it is stunningly cynical and shortsighted activity to try to stop students who are so interested in learning math and science from getting the education they crave and employers are requesting,” wrote LePage. (Emphasis original)

“I urge you to refocus your efforts on more productive activities and less on attacking some of Maine’s most motivated students,” wrote LePage. “For example, you might consider taking the proposed 31 percent increase in the District’s Superintendent’s office budget and redirecting this funding to replicate Portland’s best science and technology programs district-wide.”

“Regarding your threat to withhold funding from students who wish to attend the Baxter Academy, you should seek competent legal advice before acting on this matter,” wrote LePage.

The Baxter Academy made headlines earlier this month when former executive director John Jaques resigned.

While the public charter school’s board has said Jaques wasn’t the right man for the job, Jaques has said he was forced out by a donor who promised to give $250,000 if Jaques walked.

Brennan was unable to be reached for comment on this story.

Read the full text of the Governor’s letter to Brennan here.

By S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter

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