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Sarasota Wednesday, Mar. 6, 2013 4 years ago

Sarasota County School Board dips into North Port drama

by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Sarasota County School District Attorney Art Hardy will represent School Board interests in the battle between the local board governing the Imagine School at North Port and its corporate entity.

But, courts will decide the fate of the charter school, which Principal Justin Matthews and the governing board of Imagine School at North Port Inc. put in incertitude after deciding to end a contract with Virginia-based Imagine Schools Non-Profit Inc. Feb. 15.

Parents of Imagine School students filled nearly every seat in the Sarasota County School Board chambers March 5, as School Board members approved Hardy’s involvement in the schism. More than five parents and one sibling of students spoke in support of Matthews and the local board.

“This is not as if there was a problem at Sarasota High School or Southside Elementary School,” Hardy said during the meeting. The school will operate regularly through the end of this school year, but its leadership or name could change after litigation.

Imagine Schools Non-Profit Inc. filed a lawsuit against Matthews and the local board Feb. 19, alleging the move violated a non-compete clause in their charter agreement.

If the corporate entity wins in court the school will continue to fly the Imagine flag. If the local governing board prevails, the school would cease payments to the non-profit.

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