Sunday, March 9, 2014
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Portland Mayor Michael Brennan
Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer
Gov. Paul LePage
Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer
In his request to Attorney General Mills, Brennan said he had asked Portland's superintendent to withhold payments to Baxter Academy for Portland students until a review of the school's finances is complete.
"I'm not surprised that the governor would defend charter schools," Brennan said Thursday evening. "I am sorry that he responded in such an aggressive way."
Brennan said he was more surprised by the governor's apparent willingness to overlook questions about the school's finances.
"I'm uncomfortable sending hundreds of thousands of dollars of Portland taxpayer money to a school whose own directors have raised questions about the school's financial management," Brennan said.
Earlier this week, Alfond and Eves asked the co-chairs of the Legislature's Education Committee to have the committee review Baxter Academy's finances and the Charter School Commission's role, said Brennan, a former Democratic legislator.
"As presiding officers of the Maine Legislature, we have the responsibility to ensure that the Maine State Charter Commission is conducting its business appropriately," Alfond and Eves wrote. "We want to ensure that this school is managing its operations and spending Maine taxpayer dollars appropriately."
Education Committee leaders forwarded that request to the Government Oversight Committee on Thursday.
Rep. Bruce MacDonald, D-Boothbay, a co-chair of the Education Committee, confirmed that he received a request from Alfond and Eves.
"We felt that the Government Oversight Committee and OPEGA would be better equipped to handle this," he said. "We just didn't feel like we had the right skill set to undertake this type of review. It wasn't like we felt it was a hot potato."
State House Bureau Writer Steve Mistler contributed to this report.
Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:
click image to enlarge
A screen shot from Baxter Academy's new website, www.baxteracademy.com.