NORTH PORT — Although teachers resigned from Imagine School at North Port to work under Justin Matthews, the headmaster at the newly named Sarasota Preparatory School at the same campus, an attorney for Imagine Schools Inc. says the staff would be welcomed back if a judge orders the school to return to the parent company.
A civil lawsuit filed this week by Imagine Inc., the Virginia-based nonprofit parent company of Imagine School at
North Port, claims Matthews and the school’s governing board created a school that “does not legally exist, hired away Imagine Schools’ teachers and defamed the Imagine name.” The suit seeks damages in excess of $15,000. Imagine Inc. also has filed an injunction to remove Matthews, whom it placed on administrative leave Friday. But the embattled principal said he resigned from Imagine Inc. Friday and was hired by the local governing board hours later as the first employee — CEO and headmaster — of Sarasota Prep. On Tuesday, Matthews, who Imagine Inc. officials say makes nearly $100,000 annually, offered teachers the same benefits and pay if they resigned from Imagine and worked for the five-member governing board.
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