PORTLAND – The Baxter Academy for Technology and Science received approval Friday to open next fall as Maine’s third charter school.

The Maine Charter School Commission said Baxter Academy will become the state’s first public charter school focusing on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

While the school expects to emphasize the sciences, it will offer other typical high school courses, such as social studies and English, said John Jaques, the school’s executive director.

He said it will also offer Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language.

Jaques said the charter school’s classes will offer students “technology-rich project-based learning.”

The school, which will be based at 54 York St. in Portland, will begin accepting applications Jan. 1 for students who will be ninth- and 10th-graders when the doors open on Sept. 3.

The school hopes to enroll at least 150 students for the first year and add a grade level for each of the next two years to create a four-grade high school.

For each student who goes to a charter school, public dollars follow the child. That means the money for students that would have gone to the school district where they live goes instead to the charter school.

Charter schools, which will accept students from throughout the state, are expected to do fundraising to augment the tax dollars.

Under Maine’s charter school law, the commission can authorize as many as 10 public charter schools over the next decade.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

emurphy@pressherald.com