Portland charter school reaches accord with ousted director; details sealed

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AUGUSTA — A controversy-plagued Portland charter school that received preliminary approval Monday to open in the fall has reached an accord with its former executive director following his contentious ouster.

The board of directors of Baxter Academy for Technology and Science and John Jaques, its primary founder and former executive director, announced Tuesday that they have resolved all disputes between them and have agreed to dismiss their respective legal claims, according to a statement from the academy.

“We have reached a settlement covering the outstanding issues,” Jaques said in the statement. “While the specific terms of the agreement are confidential, it settles all disputes between us, including the claim that I had mismanaged Baxter.”

Kelli Pryor, chairwoman of the Baxter board, wished Jaques well and commended him for his contributions to the formation of the school.

“It’s beneficial to have the issues settled in a way that we can all agree to,” Pryor said. “Now, we look forward to working with the Maine Charter School Commission, our students and their families and local partners as we plan for the opening of Baxter Academy this fall.”

According to the press release, details of the settlement have been sealed and neither Baxter Academy officials nor Jaques will discuss it.

Jaques was ousted from his position in a surprise move in early March which officials at the school said was due to “a pattern of mismanagement.” Jaques then sued the academy over ownership of the school’s website and other intellectual property.

On Monday, the commission voted unanimously to move Baxter into the contract phase, which means the academy will open in the fall if it meets certain conditions ranging from a transportation plan to student enrollment targets.

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John Jaques, founder of the Baxter Academy for Technology and Science charter school in Portland.