Boothbay’s Repeat School Rerendum: Is the System Broken?

Lets look through the lens of constitutional and statutory laws and Supreme Court rulings.

Photo by note thanun on Unsplash

The Boothbay school budget was voted in by a hand vote.

Tom Perkins took the mike and said that the entire system is broken, as such he would vote no on all the articles.

The system that is broken is the Rule of Law.

If Maine constitutional law is applied to the questions about our local educational system, it clarifies that local municipalities cannot operate industrial functions. The municipality can rent or sell buildings to be used for industrial purposes to a responsible corporation. more clearly so if the buildings are newly constructed as that mirrors the exact wording in the Maine Constitution.

Article VIII.

Part Second.

;Section 2.  Construction of buildings for industrial use.   For the purposes of fostering, encouraging and assisting the physical location, settlement and resettlement of industrial and manufacturing enterprises within the physical boundaries of any municipality, the registered voters of that municipality may, by majority vote, authorize the issuance of notes or bonds in the name of the `municipality for the purpose of purchasing land and interests therein or constructing buildings for industrial use, to be leased or sold by the municipality to any responsible industrial firm or corporation. (emphasis mine)

There is also a question about the constitutional authority of those who took it upon themselves to repeal and replace our school charter. Although the Maine Constitution does not specifically mention a school charter it uses the general term “charter. it can be argued that both a school charter and a town charter are sub-categories of the term “charter”. The Maine Constitution grants authority to amend charters to the inhabitants of the municipality: Note that the word in the Constitution is “charters” not “charter”.

Article VIII.

Part Second.

Municipal Home Rule.

Section 1.  Power of municipalities to amend their charters.   The inhabitants of any municipality shall have the power to alter and amend their charters on all matters, not prohibited by Constitution or general law, which are local and municipal in character.  The Legislature shall prescribe the procedure by which the municipality may so act.

The inhabitants of the municipality did not have a vote in the repeal and replacement of our school charter. Except for specifications about funding with bonds, the entire charter was replaced with the words “align with state law”. This transformation happened during the buildup to the first referendum vote on the proposed new school system. The first vote took place last November and was voted down by the inhabitants of the municipality by approximately 2-1


The Maine Legislature acts as if it believes that it can, with impunity, write statutory laws to repurpose our public school system as industrial job training, constituting an industrial use of those facilities, providing taxpayer-subsidized job training to some industries paid in part by other industries which fund their own job training. This industrial use of our educational system is embedded in state law in both the Industrial Partnerships Act and in the charter for the Maine Space Corp[oration, as innovative corporate welfare.

3.  Workforce.  Facilitating the creation of a highly skilled workforce and attracting and retaining young workers in a new space economy. The corporation shall work closely with the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System, career and technical education centers and regions and satellite programs, elementary and secondary schools and other organizations in the State to ensure education, training and recruitment programs are in place for the primary purpose of ensuring the availability of a highly skilled workforce to support the State’s new space economy;  (emphasis by author) §13201. Maine Space Corporation established

The Maine Space Corporation was chartered by a special act of legislation in violation of Article IV Part Third Section 14 of the Maine Constitution

Article IV.

Part Third.

Legislative Power.

Section 14.  Corporations, formed under general laws.   Corporations shall be formed under general laws, and shall not be created by special Acts of the Legislature, except for municipal purposes, and in cases where the objects of the corporation cannot otherwise be attained; and, however formed, they shall forever be subject to the general laws of the State.

At a minimum, the Maine Space Corporation creates a conflict of interest with Article IV Part Third, Section 13 of the Maine Constitution:

Section 13.  Special legislation.  The Legislature shall, from time to time, provide, as far as practicable, by general laws, for all matters usually appertaining to special or private legislation.

The Maine Space Corporation is self-regulating, with ambitions to operate a dominant economy in Maine identified as “the space economy” an economy that is already exploding in the private sector and which pokes holes in our ozone layer.Subscribed

The number of satellites launched per year, for example, has grown at a rate of 50%, while launch costs have fallen 10-fold over the last 20 years – with lower costs enabling more launches. The price of data, which is key to connectivity, has also dropped – a trend that is set to continue broadly across different sectors. Moreover, as mega-rocket technology becomes ubiquitous by the early-mid 30s, more opportunities will open for what can be placed in orbit and at what price. World Economic Forum

A reason why Article IV Part Third Section 13 & 14 are in the Maine Constitution:

Currently, global rocket launches deplete the ozone layer ∼0.03%, an insignificant fraction of the depletion caused by other ozone depletion substances (ODSs). As the space industry grows and ODSs fade from the stratosphere, ozone depletion from rockets could become significant. This raises the possibility of regulation of space launch systems in the name of ozone protection. Limits on the Space Launch Market Related to Stratospheric Ozone Depletion

The Maine Constitution does not intend for the state to participate in an economy that the state regulates. There is a reason for the constitutional separation of powers, but the Maine Legislature and local leaders appear to believe themselves smarter than past generations that created the constitutional separation of powers.

The Present.

In 2024 a small faction attempts to assert their will over the entire community by running the same referendum on April 24th as the local inhabitants voted down in November.

I attended the presentation in favor of the referendum presented at the Harbor Theatre. What struck me most about this meeting were the cultural attitudes expressed throughout the presentation and by much of the audience.

The video presentation concentrated on the need for repairs in our school buildings with much talk about the deteriorating cast iron system of pipes. This is a legitimate community expense but the discussion seamlessly becomes one of financing the construction of new buildings as if they too are part of repair and maintenance. There is much talk about new space required to accommodate “interventionist” programs.

Should Article IX General Provisions. apply to expenses created by state-mandated interventionist programming?

Section 21.  State mandates.  For the purpose of more fairly apportioning the cost of government and providing local property tax relief, the State may not require a local unit of government to expand or modify that unit’s activities so as to necessitate additional expenditures from local revenues unless the State provides annually 90% of the funding for these expenditures from State funds not previously appropriated to that local unit of government.  Legislation implementing this section or requiring a specific expenditure as an exception to this requirement may be enacted upon the vote of 2/3 of all members elected to each House.  This section must be liberally construed

That brings up a constitutional conflict of interest issue with this:

Article VIII.

Part First.


Section 1.  Legislature shall require towns to support public schools; duty of Legislature.   A general diffusion of the advantages of education being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people; to promote this important object, the Legislature are authorized, and it shall be their duty to require, the several towns to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public schools; and it shall further be their duty to encourage and suitably endow, from time to time, as the circumstances of the people may authorize, all academies, colleges and seminaries of learning within the State; provided, that no donation, grant or endowment shall at any time be made by the Legislature to any literary institution now established, or which may hereafter be established, unless, at the time of making such endowment, the Legislature of the State shall have the right to grant any further powers to alter, limit or restrain any of the powers vested in any such literary institution, as shall be judged necessary to promote the best interests thereof. (emphasis by author)

The first says that if the state makes a mandate to the municipalities, it has to cover 90% of the costs, The second says that if the state funds local educational institutions the state gets to alter, limit or restrain any of the powers vested in any such literary institution, as shall be judged necessary to promote the best interests thereof.

This raises the riddle, which comes first? The chicken or the egg?

It could be interpreted that state funding for a state mandate does not qualify as a donation, grant, or endowment,

What Is a Charitable Donation?

A charitable donation is a gift of cash or property made to a nonprofit organization to help it accomplish its goals, for which the donor receives nothing of value in return. In the U.S., donations can be deducted from the federal tax returns of individuals and companies making them. Investopedia

Grant =an amount of money that is given to a person or an organization for a special purposeespecially by a governmentCambridge Dictionary


  • Endowments are usually awarded by a trust, private foundation, or public charity.
  • They benefit nonprofit educational institutions, cultural institutions, and service-oriented organizations.
  • Most endowments come with restrictions that limit their use to the investment income of the fund, not the principal. Investopedia

If donations are funds given without conditions. A mandate is a condition. However, the Constitution also says that if the state makes a donation, it can make mandates- so the reasoning between these two articles is circular. The safest thing to do if local control over our educational system is desired is to stick with tax-deductible donations through the school foundation except when it is documented that the state funding is specifically related to the pre-existing state mandate, and excludes additional mandates, which applies to special needs required for interventionist programs.

If the need for more space is required because of the need to satisfy a state mandate, then it is the state’s obligation to pay 90% of the costs, not that of local taxpayers and should not be cited as a reason for a local tax-payer funded bond.

The impression given by the need for exorbitant space dedicated to interventionist programs is that our community has an unusually high proportion of students with disabilities or violence issues.

These are statutes about the interventionist programs: The program for violence says “shall”. The program for disabilities says “may”. The latter is not a mandate, just permission.

§262. Violence prevention and intervention

The commissioner shall provide technical assistance to school administrative units that request assistance in the provision of violence prevention and intervention training programs for teachers, school staff and students. The assistance must emphasize conflict resolution education, peer mediation and early identification and response to signs of violence.   [PL 1999, c. 781, §1 (NEW).

§7252-A. Early intervention; special education programs; approval

Early intervention and special education programs may be established for the delivery of early intervention and special education services to children with disabilities in accordance with section 7204, subsection 4. An early intervention program may be provided by an intermediate educational unit, an approved private school or a state licensed agency. A special education program may be offered by a school administrative unit, an approved private school or a state licensed agency. All early intervention and special education programs offered by approved private schools or state licensed agencies must:   [PL 2005, c. 662, Pt. A, §31 (AMD).].

Two students were introduced in the movie as students who were selected to be in the leadership group that met with the architects. Their demeanor communicated a lackadaisical sense of seriousness. Their talking points sounded like they were indoctrinated through the architects. The students bemoaned having to suffer an identity complex due to the lack of a special building that would distinguish seventh and eighth students in the hierarchy of chronological age. A new building just for seventh and eighth-grade students is needed to fix it.

I couldn’t help but think of the context in which the Boothbay Regional Development Corporation is building a housing concentration zone of units described as half the size of HUD’s standard for comfort. The proponents of the new school buildings uphold the student body as deserving the best, but only in the context of an institutional setting, not in their own living spaces. What type of an identity complex might cramped and overcrowded home living environments create?

Another reason told by the two young students for investing 30 million dollars in repairs and new buildings is because it is a hardship for students to work in repurposed spaces. To do right by our student body, every space should be specifically built for whatever purpose occupies it. This clearly sounded like the students spinning for the architects, raising the question, how are students being indoctrinated in the local public educational system? Do students think about the world that surrounds them?

When the panel was asked if there was a difference between the referendum voted down in November and the new referendum the answer was spoken loudly and with great impact, “It is more expensive!”, followed by the often repeated explanation that inflation makes the price go higher so the longer time it takes to enact a referendum, the higher the cost will be.

Higher costs are the public’s fault for not passing the referendum the first time, as if to say they are going to keep giving us the same referendum until we pass it and so to keep the price down we’d better vote for it now before the price goes up again when the same referendum is introduced for a third time.

A referendum for the repairs by themselves would also lower the price. The repairs and security entrance would have been far less costly if the plans for repairs and security had moved ahead before the anonymous investors intervened with funds to hire architects to design a new school system.

Last in the meeting a resident took the mike with a prepared and well-researched speech that began with statistics about the number of residents that live paycheck to paycheck and ended with citing a law about the time frame for running an identical referendum to one that had already been voted down. She asked the panel if they had consulted with a lawyer on the matter before running the identical referendum so soon after the other. A claim was made that they had but it was not satisfactory or convincing.

The reaction from the room when the larger context was brought into the conversation was something to behold.

The protestor’s voice was loud and shrill but her content deserved respectful attention. Many others had raised questions or not in rambling soliloquies, without interruption. I was sitting next to where the protestor was standing in the aisle. Behind her a moderator kept interrupting to ask if she had a question, and the protestor kept answering yes, only to have the question repeated again. I was interested in hearing what the protestor had to say. Many people were rudely leaving the room as she spoke, as if to say they would not tolerate anyone speaking an “inappropriate opinion” bringing up concerns of a greater community beyond their small gathering, demonstrating the cultural divide that bubbles on the surface of the community on the Boothbay Peninsula.

As I thought of the overcrowded housing zone filled with undersized units, it was hard to feel sympathetic. People are making do with a housing shortage that has nothing to do with population increases and a lot to do with unregulated STRS and ruthless practices of hedge funds and privacy equity investors. With the school being funded by §5654. Conditional gifts there is no assurance that funders will not be private equity investors and that they will not be angling for intellectual property rights and patent ownership. Blackstone, one of the most ruthless private equity firms invested in the housing market has funded the Innovation Center at the University of Maine, which is at the Center of the Maine Space Complex, which will be using our public educational system as its workforce training facilities. Why should our state partner with such a ruthless corporation in its innovation center and expect the public to trust them with our public educational system? Lets vet this one out!

The University of Maine is at the heart of our public educational system, The U of M Statement of Policy Governing Patents and Copyrights violates a US Supreme Court ruling:

The Intellectual Property Clause grants ownership of a patent to the inventor of the patent. In Stanford University v. Roche Molecular Systems Inc, 563 U.S. 776 (2011), the Supreme Court held that even when a researcher at a federally funded lab invents a patent, that researcher owns the patent.

Read history of the University of Maine, written by author, here

There is no question that the University of Maine receives federal funding.

In 1999, §1921. Maine Patent Program was enacted as an educational program on patenting. The University of Maine claims that it can charge “a reasonable percentage of the royalties for any successful innovation patented through the program for services provided in registering a patent.

In 2002, the University of Maine published Statement of Policy Governing Patents and Copyrights . The terms are initially presented as they apply to faculty members, but, slipped in, with no special heading, is a claim that the same terms apply to students and non-compensated individuals. The modifier “and/or” conditions the terms to apply to any individual who is deemed by the University to have made significant use of University resources.subscribed.

The University of Maine is part of the Maine Space Complex which will use our public educational system as workforce training facilities starting in kindergarten.

The school budget passed with a hand vote includes new job functions at corporate executive pay: Why is that?

The proposed budget also includes hiring an assistant superintendent/curriculum coordinator with salary and benefits around $122,000. According to Kahler, the job-holder would help school principals focus on running their schools and supporting their staff. He said it would also help as his role focuses on repairs to CSD buildings and the long range planning committee. The proposed job was not as well received.

According to
The average Assistant Superintendent salary in Portland, ME is $45,963 as of March 26, 2024, but the salary range typically falls between $40,882 and $52,979.

But the job is an “assistant superintendent/curriculum coordinator:
So it must be the “curriculum coordinator:: part of the job description that bumps the pay up to that of a corporate executive in the private industrial sector

According to

The average Curriculum Coordinator salary in Maine is $78,699 as of March 26, 2024, but the range typically falls between $71,404 and $86,593. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the city and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

So if you add those two salaries together, it equals the pay for a single combined job in the school system on the Boothbay Peninsula which probably has the lowest number of students in the state, if not the USA.

The budget for the school sounds more like a budget for setting up business operations when one listens to what Superintendent Kahler says:

The biggest change involves moving AOS 98 financial services in-house. In October, the district’s accountant announced it will not be continuing the relationship, as reported in the Register. According to Kahler, the district will no longer be paying around $225,000 for outside services, but the move may represent a short-term cost increase as other factors are accounted for, including salaries and over $40,000 in accounting software.

Kahler said AOS 98 will have its staff provide financial services and hire contractors as needed. The district is in the process of hiring a director of finance and a finance assistant/payroll specialist. Combined, the two jobs are budgeted to cost around $223,000 in salary and benefits. Kahler and the board also discussed a potential revenue stream if other districts need assistance through the future business office. Overall, the board voiced agreement with the need and approach for in-house finance services. source

Mr Kahler does not explain why a public middle school system needs financial services and a payroll specialist. According to Zip Recruiter “Based on recent job posting activity on ZipRecruiter, the Payroll Specialist job market in Maine is not very active as few companies are currently hiring.

Look at this hand! Don’t look at that one.

About Susan Mackenzie Andersen

I was blessed with being raised in this amazing business in a home that uses ceramic slip-cast production as an art form. My mission is to set this business up so that others can enjoy the same lifestyle while benefitting from what Andersen Design created. Follow me on my substack blog, Mackenzie Andersen's The Individual vs The Empire! I write about the public-private-non-profit-profit wealth concentration and redistribution industrial complex - and then I dream a better world.

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