Gov. Paul LePage is pledging up to $25,000 in matching funds to benefit a charter school’s robotics team, one of a handful of K-12 expenditures from the governor’s contingency fund.

The money is for the Outliers, a FIRST robotics team at Baxter Academy for Technology and Science. The team was a subdivision winner at the annual FIRST championship in St. Louis, Missouri, and the first Maine team to reach the finals round, school officials said.

The FIRST robotics challenge this year was to build a robot no taller than 3 feet, no heavier than 120 lbs and powered by a 12 volt battery that completes a series of complex tasks.

LePage invited the Outliers to Blaine House on Friday.

“This is an incredible accomplishment and the Governor wants to celebrate it and ensure they have the resources to continue,” spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said in an email. “Governor LePage supports charter schools and he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is.”

LePage hopes to encourage businesses to support the Outliers or any robotics team in the state, she said.


Of seven Maine FIRST robotics teams that qualified to go to the St. Louis championships, the Outliers were one of three that attended. Infinite Loop, from Messalonskee High School in Oakland, was eliminated in the quarterfinals, but won the “Gracious Professionalism” award. The Buck’s Wrath, from Bucksport High School, was also eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Infinite Loop and Northern Force, a FIRST robotics team from Falmouth and Gorham, are two of only six U.S. robotics teams invited to China to participate in a cultural and technological exchange in June, where they will partner with local students on a robotics challenge.

Bennett said the governor has used the contingency fund on other education-related initiatives, including $7,000 for Regional School Unit 50 for two teachers to attend an out-of-state conference on dyslexia, $30,000 to the University of Maine School of Law Foundation for scholarships, $30,000 for the Challenger Learning Center in Bangor for math and science programs for middle school students, and $50,000 for My Place Teen Center, a nonprofit in Westbrook.

The governor can spend up to $350,000 a year from the contingency fund.

LePage has used the contingency fund for a broad range of causes, including paying to ship lobster care packages to other governors, making donations to charitable organizations and giving $50,000 to a drug treatment center in Ellsworth. In a May 2 radio interview, he said he planned to use the fund to pay for lawyers to sue Attorney General Janet Mills.

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