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  • Mackenzie Andersen

    How the Industrial Partnerships Act repurposed public education


    What's the real long-term incremental plan?
    Josh Hild Unsplash

    In Boothbay Maine, there is a political faction made up of developers, realtors. town leaders, and politicians who are promoting a fifty million dollar school system for the peninsula which has two endangered water supplies and one of the smallest youth populations anywhere in the USA.

    During the LePage administration, the Maine public school system was transformed into an instrumentality of the state’s economic development agenda as codified in the Industrial Partnerships Act. Public education was repurposed as workforce training favoring selected industries. Workforce training starts as early as elementary school.

    D. The Department of Education shall:
    (2) Support innovative programs to address literacy, including English as a second language, numeracy shortcomings and soft skills training, especially in those occupations critical to targeted industry clusters; §3304. Industry partnerships (emphasis mine)
    4. High-priority occupations. "High-priority occupations" means those occupations identified on a list published annually by the Center for Workforce Research and Information pursuant to section 3303, subsection 5. §3302. Definitions [PL 2017, c. 110, §28 (AMD).]

    To properly consider whether such a school is right for the peninsula and if the peninsula is the right location for the school, each question needs to be considered independently of the other, and each needs to be considered in the context of other options.

    In the past, elementary and secondary education gave young minds and bodies well-rounded exposure to many different disciplines. The youthful individual was educated holistically, as a person, rather than as an instrument of industry.

    There are many different philosophies of education. Public education as a regional system, rather than a strictly municipal system, can offer a greater array of choices for the student.

    A major public school operating on the educational philosophy codified in the Industrial Partnerships Act is best located where it is central to a multiplicity of municipalities and a multiplicity of other choices are available for the student.

    Since peninsulas are small unique environments, and not centrally located, the culture on a peninsula can be easily dominated by a large public-private state educational system that has been repurposed according to 2013‘s Industrial Partnerships Act as industrial training for state-approved careers and industries. The probability that the school will be a public-private-special-interest-led educational system is evident in that the proposed fifty million dollar school has been advanced by private fundraising for the architectural design to lend the project the appearance of already decided before the public vote occurs in 2023. Through private non-profit fundraising, special private sector interests are leading the public sector, altering the historical protocol of a public vote as the first step in a public project.

    Small peninsulae are ideal for growing alternate cultures and can uniquely distinguish themselves by taking this path. If the peninsula were to take the path of offering alternative educational options, a young person residing on the peninsula could opt to pursue state-sponsored workforce training in a school centrally located among multiple regional municipalities, while others residing near the centrally managed school might choose the peninsula for a different education as an option to education serving the purposes of the state's economic development agenda.
    Danika Pperkinson Unsplash

    The story of the incrementalized conflation of education and industry workforce training begins during the times of the American civil war when the federal government expanded its powers to include central management of the economy through the establishment of land grant colleges, including the University of Maine.

    Then the idea of the university was sold to the Maine public as an institution that would educate farmer's son's in scientific methods of their trade but Instead, the university favored education in the new technology of the times. Thus from its beginnings, the University of Maine, as an instrument of federally centralized economic development, took a side in the intrinsic cultural divide in Maine, one side rooted in rural and local values and the other branding itself as the transformative "new", a form of classic imperialism on a smaller and internalized national scale.

    Today the University of Maine is at the core of the state's centralized economy and educational system, a conflation soldered into form in the statutory definition of The Industrial Partnerships Act and signed into law by Governor LePage

    Title 26: LABOR AND INDUSTRY Chapter 39: MAINE INDUSTRY PARTNERSHIPS §3302. Definitions As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings. [PL 2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
    1. Career ladder. "Career ladder" means a clear sequence of education course work or training that is aligned with an identified series of positions, work experiences or educational benchmarks or training credentials that offer occupational and financial advancement within a specified career field or related fields over time. [PL 2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]
    2. Collaborative. "Collaborative" means the Industry Partnership Assistance Collaborative established in section 3301. [PL 2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]3. Educational programs. "Educational programs" means the State's elementary and secondary schools, career and technical education centers, adult education programs, the Maine Community College System, the Maine Maritime Academy and the University of Maine System and other training providers that have been approved to provide training by the Department of Labor under the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Public Law 113-128. [PL 2017, c. 110, §28 (AMD).] (emphasis added)

    Paul Lepage moves to the Boothbay peninsula and throws his hat Into The gubernatorial race

    Maine is now confronting the possibility of its first third-term Governor in the candidacy of Paul Lepage. LePage might be expected to run on legislation enacted during his past administration, but it is standard MO for LePage to keep mum about major transformational legislation passed under his watch and stick to talking about a balanced budget and lower taxes and positioning himself as a man of the common folk and rural Mainers.

    In announcing his run for third-term governorship, Lepage spun a tale about solidarity with rural Maine. to which he had recently returned after tanning himself in the sun of Ormond Beach, Florida, where he bought a house in 2018 while still serving his second term as Maine Governor and where Lepage registered to vote.

    Recently, Lepage is located in Edgecomb in wealthy southern Maine on the Boothbay Peninsula, where there exists a long historical-cultural divide between residents with deep historical roots and new arrivals with money and time on their hands to serve on boards that implement their visions of transforming the peninsula into somewhere else, something new, anything but what its history has been. In recent years the advocates of the new have been given new life by the arrival of Paul Lepage's childhood friend, developer Paul Coulombe, who also owns property in Florida where Coulombe spends his winters.

    In his campaign announcement, LePage declared himself to be on the side of rural Maine and "empowering everyone", portraying Governor Mills as "looking to Washington, DC for bailouts, subsidies or leadership".

    "Maine faces several challenges and we must work toward building a better future based on individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, and an economy which empowers everyone including our rural communities," he said in a release. "We simply cannot continue to look to Washington, DC for bailouts, subsidies or leadership." Paul Lepage annoucing his run for thrid-term Governor

    The impactful and major legislation that Governor LePage signed into law contradicts his branding as a man representing the interests of rural Maine and all of the people, and liberty, and individuality. The centrally managed state does not empower the individual unless the individual empowers the state, by its rules, serving in the state's hierarchical grid, in which the individual knows his or her place within the boundaries of the grid.
    Sam Moqadam Unsplash

    This story is about one major piece of Legislation that was instituted under LePage and sheds some light on why a local faction in Boothbay, led by LePage’s friend, developer Paul Coulombe, is pushing for a fifty-million-dollar school system with no known plan to finance it. Coulombe pledged to finance the planning stage for two and a half million dollars, without a hint about a plan to finance the other forty-six and a half million dollars.

    Industry Partnerships creates a new government bureaucracy functioning as central manager of the relationship between industries targeted by the State, and also including education and social service organizations. Just about everything and anything going on in Maine are subject to be managed by the state through wealth redistribution, some of which is channeled through federal programs and incorporates private and non-profit fundraising.

    5. Other funding sources. The collaborative shall seek funds from other private and public sources to support and sustain industry partnerships and related activities established in this chapter. Industry partnerships also may seek other sources of funding, both public and private. §3305. Industry partnership grant program

    When Coulombe first showed up on the peninsula, he played by the normal rules of a free enterprise system, investing private money as a private entity, until he became involved in a project to transform the traffic patterns in the Boothbay Center and entered into a public-private relationship with the state. Since the Department of Transportation funding is distributed on a first come first serve basis, with special consideration for communities who come with money in hand, Paul Coulombe was able to have his way with the Center of Boothbay and only pay for one-third of the cost.

    Project Selection/Eligibility MaineDOT will continuously accept project applications and eligible projects will be selected on a first come first serve basis. Additional project selection/eligibility factors include the following:
    • Percentage of Local Match: The greater the percentage of non-MaineDOT funding, the greater the likelihood the project will be selected

    The roundabout enabled Coulombe to carve out a new entrance to the country club as one of the four intersections on the roundabout. Where once there was a straight unobstructed main throughway with one right-hand turn onto a one-way street, there is now a tree planted right in the middle of the road and roundabout the traffic goes seasonally creating backups in the other three intersections of the roundabout. The one-way street is now a two-way street connecting to a private road belonging to the country club.

    Perhaps that’s when Coulombe got the idea of how the distribution of wealth works in a public-private relationship where matching funds are a device that allows the haves to have more. With an already paid-for architectural plan in hand, the peninsula would have an advantage over other communities in competing for the distribution of federal and state educational funding.

    Mr. Coulombe made good on his pledge in a private fundraiser at his country club, wherein he invited Superintendent Robert Kahler and Boothbay Region High School and Elementary School Principals Tricia Campbell and Shawna Kurr, who attended much to the dismay of Boothbay-Boothbay Harbor Community School District School Committee member Ruth Macy. Macy said the optics looked bad. Well, Yes, especially when education has become publically financed job training for select industries. Will we get to know who made the contributions? The project is not identified on the School District website.

    The peninsula has very few young people of the ages that attend secondary school but in reading in between the lines of the Industry Partnerships Act, age doesn’t matter because the educational systems of Maine serve the purpose of corporate job training in targeted sector industries at any stage of climbing the corporate ladder.
    Ethan Johnson Unsplash

    Will the new school advanced by Boothbay's wealth culture be anything like the past educational institutions in a free enterprise society or will it openly become a publicly financed job training campus for the state's favored industries and even host state-run businesses in the model of the University of Maine, a federal land grant college? (See the Advanced Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine)

    "We simply cannot continue to look to Washington, DC for bailouts, subsidies or leadership." said Paul Lepage Portland Press Herald LePage officially announces bid for governor in 2022

    The Industrial Partnership Act Insures that the state will look to Washington, DC for subsidies and leadership.

    §3304. Industry partnerships B. Create an industry partnership to advise the collaborative, the State Workforce Investment Board established in section 2006 and the boards of the local workforce investment areas designated pursuant to the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Public Law 105-220 on aligning state policies and leveraging resources across systems, including workforce development, education and economic development; [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).] (emphasis added)

    C. Include requirements that support industry partnerships in all relevant programs, grants and new initiatives; and [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).]D. Use industry partnerships as a connective framework across systems and programs when applying for federal and private funds. [2013, c. 368, Pt. FFFFF, §1 (NEW).] (emphasis added)

    That gives us a clue about how the fifty-million-dollar school is to be funded as a public-private partnership, with large corporate interests on both sides of the street. Schools are being incrementally transformed into publicly financed corporate training centers and merging with private corporate development interests. Will a large private corporate grant enable the Boothbay developers community to apply for a Maine Technology Institute matching fund, as an educational program to develop products for commercial markets? Will the intellectual property of students be protected in this system or will the claims to intellectual property held by the University of Maine reach down into the secondary school system? (See Maine’s Deeply Rooted Cultural and Economic Divide Played Out in the Birth of The University of Maine)

    §15302. Maine Technology Institute 2. Purpose. The institute, through a public and private partnership, shall encourage, promote, stimulate and support research and development activity leading to the commercialization of new products and services in the State’s technology-intensive industrial sectors to enhance the competitive position of those sectors and increase the likelihood that one or more of the sectors will support clusters of industrial activity and to create new jobs for Maine people. The institute is one element of the State’s economic development strategy and will contribute to the long-term development of a statewide research, development and product deployment infrastructure.

    Negotiations between the state and its private partners are portrayed as serving the people through job creation clouding the fact that the public, including the employee, is financing privately owned means of production. While MTI is chartered as a public non-profit charity, the board is a for-profit entity whose members can own intellectual property, license intellectual property and negotiate for and collect royalty rights or otherwise realize a return on investment made under the fund and all programs of the institute


    The starting phase establishment of Industrial Partnerships was as much of a seat of your pants funding scheme as is the fifty-million dollar school.

    The fiscal note for the 2013 LD90 industry partnerships, removed General Fund appropriations from the Department of Corrections and gave those funds to Industry Partnerships in the amounts of $955,500 in the fiscal year 2013-2014 and $1313417 in the fiscal year 2014-2015.

    It also removed additional funds from the Executive Department and the Department of Labor.
    126th MAINE LEGISLATURE LD 90 LR 1092(03) An Act To Strengthen Maine's Workforce and Economy Fiscal Note: Sponsor Sen. GoodallGovernment Record in public domain

    In the year 2015, Governor LePage publicly deplored the Department of Corrections for its lack of fiscal responsibility. The Bangor Daily News reported on February 10, 2015, in an article titled LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver, that Governor LePage proposed a new amendment in response to what he deplored as the lack of sound fiscal management by the Department of Corrections

    The move would allow LePage to appoint a receiver, in the words of the amendment “when, in the judgment of the governor, the state Board of Corrections system, for whatever reason, fails to fulfill the goal of sound fiscal management” Bangor Daily News LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver February 10, 2015

    The Department of Corrections, a traditional government function, was robbed to pay for Industrial Partnerships, an expanded and transformational government function. The Legislature and the Governor, are accountable for the fiscal management that created a funding shortfall at the Department of Corrections.

    The receiver would be in place until June 30 of this year. At issue are funding shortfalls totaling nearly $2.5 million this year for Maine’s 15 county jails. Five of those jails — in Aroostook, Cumberland, Penobscot, York and Androscoggin counties — are in danger of closure by the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30. Sheriffs and lawmakers from those counties have said they would have to refuse to accept new prisoners or release inmates if they ran out of money. Bangor Daily News LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver’ February 10 2015[

    The total amount taken from appropriations for the Department of Corrections to fund Industry Partnerships is $2268917.00, almost the same amount as the shortfall. To fund Industry Partnerships, the Legislature robbed the Department of Corrections of necessary funding, putting the safety of the people of Maine at risk. If the first function of government is protecting the people, the new
    and expanded function of government has sold out on government's most essential function, to profit itself.

    The amendment offered Tuesday would provide $2,171,316. It was unclear, even among lawmakers, why the amount in the amendment was lower than the need identified by the jails. LePage looks to elude Board of Corrections with county jail ‘receiver,

    Money Taken from the Department of Corrections Used to fund "Quality Centers

    Re-appropriated funding for Industrial Partnerships was used to capitalize ‘quality centers”, workforce training centers in the community college system, equipped with the state of the art means of production and used as facilities for training workers in the state-targeted industries. The educational training is paid for neither by the student nor the business that receives the free job training but by the general taxpayers through a system of refundable tax credits, (see below).

    Additional taxpayer funding was distributed to build communal Tech Places, industry quality centers with state-of-the-art facilities designed to attract start-up companies to communal environments with shared facilities and administration.

    You Don’t Own the Means of Production and Your Intellectual Property Isn’t Yours!

    Per statutory mandate, Tech Places, but not Quality Centers, must maintain a relationship with the university system. Quality Centers are used for industry job training rather than innovative development but Tech Places are designed as communal facilities for tech startups in which there is the possibility of developing new innovative products. The University of Maine is the center of the university system.

    Under Angus King, The Legislature established a policy authorizing the university to claim ownership of intellectual property rights, based on usage, by the actual author of the intellectual property, of publicly owned facilities. Under the policy, established by the University of Maine, ownership of the material resources and facilities are used to acquire ownership of intellectual property rights.


    IV. APPLICABILITY This policy, as amended from time to time, shall be deemed a part of the conditions of employment for every employee of the University, and a part of the conditions of enrollment and attendance at the University by students. It is also the policy of the University that, by participating in a sponsored project and/or by making significant use of University Resources and/or by participating in teaching, research, or service projects, individuals (including non-compensated individuals) accept the principles of ownership of Intellectual Property as stated in this policy, unless an exception is approved in writing by the Intellectual Property Office. (emphasis added)
    Copyrightable Works: It is the policy of the University that all rights in Copyrightable Works shall remain with the author(s) and creator(s) unless: iv) In the judgment of the Intellectual Property Office and the cognizant University administrator(s), the author(s) or creator(s) of the Copyrightable Work made more than Incidental Use of University Resources.

    Rights to ownership of intellectual property, based on ownership of facilities is a concept embraced in communist political philosophy.

    Tech Place is Maine's latest evolution in public-private ownership of the means of production and associated intellectual property. On the stateside, there is the University’s consortium of productions including the Advanced Manufacturing Center at the University of Maine, Aqua Ventus. In the public-private sector, there are the financial institutions, The Maine Venture Fund, The Maine Technology Institute,

    How the “Put Me to Work” bill hid the true expenditures and the public costs

    In 2015 Maine House Speaker Mark Eves promoted the “Put Me to Work” bill:

    Maine House speaker pushes job training legislation AUGUSTA — House Speaker Mark Eves is backing a bill designed to invest $5 million over the next five years in job training programs that create public-private partnerships to develop a trained workforce in high-demand fields such as logging, health care and machining. (emphasis added)
    The bill, called “Put ME to Work,” would also fund scholarships in some of the same fields. Eves and Democratic leaders promoted the bill as a vehicle to help fill job needs in select industries in which an aging workforce and new hires aren’t keeping pace with new skill needs. (emphasis added) Maine House speaker pushes job training legislation by Steve Mistler Portland Press Herald May 18 2015

    Break Down of Expenditures of LD1373 Put ME to Work Bill

    The header of the cost analysis identifies that the bill is to finance the Quality Centers and states that the funds will be used for need-based tuition assistance and grants for persons participating in the Put ME to Work Program.

    • 25% of the bond will be used for tuition assistance
    • 65% of the expenditure is for the private partnership matching fund which includes what is called “infrastructure” investment likely meaning space and equipment used for production. (the means of production)
    • 10% of the funding for this project provides for one new executive position at $100,000, annually

    The Put ME to Work Bill was promoted as a jobs training initiative but only 25% of the funding is dedicated to job training grants. Most of the funding is appropriated to acquiring the material means of production which is to be matched with private funding. 10% of the taxpayer funding goes to hiring an executive director for the public-privately owned facility.

    The state is purchasing equipment used in the means of production in partnership with its private partners with funding from a bill promoted as workforce training and scholarship funding. What is the ultimate goal? Where does it go from here? What type of political system is under construction?

    Let us not forget that it is ownership of the means of production which is used to establish rights to ownership of the intellectual property of its users, per University of Maine policy.

    Re-purposing Public Education

    Since 1983 with the establishment of the Finacial Authority of Maine, under the administration of Governor Joseph E. Brennan (Democrat), state policy holds that private benefit is only incidental to public purposes. Sixty-five percent of the funding for the Jobs for Me Act went to purchasing equipment for the public-privately owned means of production - or in this case, the means of job training, because purchasing the equipment for the means of production is incidental to job creation, which is promoted as a public benefit.

    A workforce is also incidental to the production and profit. An employee receiving higher than average pay and benefits in a tax-payer subsidized job is privately benefitting from a public program that delivers "quality jobs" to only a few.

    The state negotiates corporate incentives for a specified number of "quality jobs", defined as jobs paying higher than average wages and benefits for the area. In so doing the state is negotiating for a quantifiable amount of revenue derived from personal payroll taxes, which accounts for why a "quality job" is defined as a pecuniary value, and nothing else. Arguably, the public-private factions who negotiate deals to their mutual benefit are the beneficiaries.

    The workforce centers are a 50-50 public-private matching fund, Why doesn't the job training take place on the job where the equipment is owned by private industry allowing all of the funding to be used for the purpose for which it was promoted- scholarships and job training? If the training took place on the job more sectors of the economy could participate. If the training took place on the job, the training would not be exclusive to industries that have the extra capital to invest in a new facility in partnership with the state rather than upgrading their existing facility.

    The reason a separate facility is being equipped might be because the investors in the state's many development corporations are a class unto themselves, separate from existing industries within the state.

    Since Maine became a centrally managed economy in 1976 the wealth divide has expanded to the point that the professional working class now needs affordable housing.


    §962. Purpose

    The authority will serve a public purpose and perform an essential governmental function in the exercise of the powers and duties conferred upon it by this chapter. Any benefits accruing to private individuals or associations, as a result of the activities of the authority, are deemed by the Legislature to be incidental to the public purposes to be achieved by the implementation of this chapter. [1985, c. 344, §5 (AMD).]

    LD1373 Put ME to Work Bill

    2. Job training programs; criteria. The job training programs in the program must provide training to prepare workers for jobs in high-demand fields. The centers shall work with private businesses to determine the demand for jobs and the skills needed for those jobs and with post-secondary institutions of higher education to determine the ability of those institutions to provide the appropriate education and training, including teaching faculty and any necessary infrastructure. A qualified job training program must meet the following criteria: (emphasis added)
    A. Support of at least 50% of the start-up costs for the job training program must be provided by a business or group of businesses that chooses to participate in a job training program. The support may be provided through funds or through an in-kind contribution, such as equipment or teaching faculty;
    B. The job training program must provide education or training for employment in a trade or industry with a significant demand for skilled labor either statewide or in a region that has been identified by the Center for Workforce Research and Information within the Department of Labor as providing employment for high-compensation jobs; and......

    An examination of the Community College charter reveals that student’s educational costs are already arranged to be subsidized by taxpayers, through the implementation of the Pine Tree Zone tax exemptions combined with a refundable tax credit. This is how it works:

    First, the cost of the training is picked up by the employer:

    §5217-D. Credit for educational opportunity establishes that the employer can take on the loan, rather than the trainee.

    A qualified individual or an employer of a qualified employee is allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this Part in accordance with the provisions of this section. The credit is created to implement the Job Creation Through Educational Opportunity Program established under Title 20-A, chapter 428-C. (emphasis mine)

    The employer may claim a credit for the amount that the qualified employee could have claimed during any months when the qualified employee was employed. Provided the employee was employed by the employer during the full time of the training, the employer can take a refundable tax credit for the full cost of the training. The student must be employed full-time. Full-time is defined as a four-day workweek leaving one day for job training.

    The tax credit is refundable

    You have to read this section carefully. It says in 2C that the credit will not reduce this tax to less than zero (meaning a refundable tax credit in which when the holder owes no taxes the public owes the holder a cash payment (tax)).

    Then it says in section 3 that section 2C is notwithstanding (for qualified individuals -aka- special interests) The tax credit is refundable if it is used for the purpose for which it is provided!

    One can only assume that the reason the tax credit is referred to as a tax less than zero, in section 2C and as a refundable tax credit in section 3, is to confuse the reader.

    §5217-D. Credit for educational opportunity 2. Credit allowed. A qualified individual or an employer of a qualified employee is allowed a credit against the tax imposed by this Part in accordance with the provisions of this section. The credit is created to implement the Job Creation Through Educational Opportunity Program established under Title 20-A, chapter 428-
    C. Except as provided in subsection 3, the credit under this section may not reduce the tax otherwise due under this Part to less than zero. [2013, c. 525, §15 (AMD).] (emphasis added)
    3. Calculation of the credit; qualified individuals. Subject to subsection 2 and except as provided in this subsection, the credit with respect to a qualified individual is equal to the amount determined under paragraph A or paragraph B, whichever is less, multiplied by the proration factor:(emphasis added)
    Notwithstanding subsection 2, paragraph C, the credit under this subsection is refundable to the extent the credit is based on loans included in the financial aid package acquired to obtain a bachelor's degree or associate degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. For tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, (emphasis added)

    If the business has Pine Tree Zone tax exemptions, or other tax exemption, which as a targeted sector business there is a high probability that it does, then the business does not owe taxes or owes a reduced amount of taxes and the taxpayer owes the business the cost of the job training, (a refundable tax credit means that if the holder does not owe taxes the state owes the holder the value of the credit)

    Neither of the beneficiaries of the job training (business or employee) pays for the cost of the job training, a cost transferred to the general taxpayer, most of whom do not receive a benefit from the program (public benefit), other than the trickle-down effect that has been established not to trickle down by the historically documented expanding wealth divide.

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