Accelerated Repair Program Statement of Interest Process Overview


The Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (the “MSBA”) grant program is a non-entitlement, competitive program, and its grants are distributed by the MSBA Board of Directors, based on need and urgency, as expressed by the district and validated by the MSBA. The MSBA completes a review of available information regarding all districts that submit a Statement of Interest (“SOI”) for the Accelerated Repair Program (“ARP”) each year. The MSBA encourages all interested districts to submit an SOI to the MSBA, but the ARP is not appropriate for all potential projects.
After a temporary pause in the ARP in 2023, the MSBA Board of Directors voted to reopen the Program in 2024 with an increased estimated budget following the approval of the Commonwealth’s FY 24 Budget, which provides that grant amounts related to the ARP shall not be calculated as part of the MSBA’s Annual Cap limit, as set forth in Section 7 of Chapter 70B of the General Laws. For additional information, please refer to the October 25, 2023 Board of Directors memorandum, which details the recommendations specific to the ARP, located on our website, here.

The ARP reopening in 2024 is for the partial or full replacement of roofs and windows/doors. Beginning in 2024, the feasibility study for each invited roof project will consider roof replacement as well as roof restoration. Although not the right fit for every school, roof restoration may allow a more economical solution and thereby a more affordable project for some districts. The feasibility study for roof projects will also include an evaluation to make the building solar ready. Supporting roofs and windows will continue to prolong the longevity of the building and improve the environment of the school. 

To facilitate schools moving toward Massachusetts’ goal for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the MSBA plans to develop a study for public school facilities that could offer heat pump conversion for existing buildings. This study will be done in lieu of offering boiler replacement as part of the ARP annual opening in 2024. Staff anticipate procuring the services of a consultant for the study in 2024 in preparation for including this option as part of the January 2025 SOI opening.

Given the proposed budgetary growth of the program and the introduction of the new scope for heat pump conversion, commencing in January 2025, the program will have a biennial SOI opening (every two years). Districts will file SOIs biennially and staff will review invitations for roofs and windows/doors based on a budget of $300 million (representing 2 years’ worth of projects). The biennial budget for heat pump conversion projects will be determined in consultation with the heat pump study and the MSBA’s financial capacity. MSBA believes that a biennial opening will provide more predictability and flexibility for districts who are administering facilities improvements in their districts and that pacing the start dates for invited districts will not only help mitigate the impact of introducing so many projects into the construction market but will also help districts who need longer preparatory time than the current program allows.

The following information provides an overview of the SOI process from initial opening of the SOI period, which is typically in January, until the Board of Directors votes to authorize invitations at a subsequent fall Board meeting; this timeline may vary as needed. The MSBA reviews these dates annually and may adjust the opening and closing dates as may be needed. 

The SOI Filing Period

The MSBA opens its SOI system  annually for districts to file one or more SOIs for consideration in the MSBA’s grant program. The SOI is the tool districts use to identify the deficiencies and/or programmatic issues that exist in their facilities. Districts should submit one SOI per school for each school that they believe requires a project. An SOI should only be filed for a facility where a district has the ability to fund a schematic design within 90 days  of invitation and a total project budget within 12 months of invitation. Over the last several years, the SOI system has opened in early January and has closed for the ARP in late February. The MSBA reviews these dates annually and may adjust opening and closing dates as may be needed from time to time. Each year, the SOI opening information is published on the MSBA’s website in addition to each superintendent receiving email communications in advance of the SOI opening, on the day of and throughout the filing period until the closure of the filing period.

Based on the qualifications for the ARP, a district should not file an SOI if: 

  • the age of the system is less than the advertised age criteria;
    • the roof is less than twenty-five years old (installed in or after 2000);
    • the windows/doors are less than thirty years (installed in or after 1995);
  • the proposed total project cost is projected as less than $250,000;
  • the school is judged by the district to be over-crowded;
  • the district is considering the facility for potential consolidation;
  • the primary use of the building is for non-educational purposes;
  • the school provides for pre-kindergarten students only;
  • the SOI itself seeks construction beyond roofs or windows/doors; 
  • a facility condition not identified in the SOI remains unresolved from a previous MSBA SOI review;
  • the district is reviewing facility deficiencies to further identify its needs and priorities; or,
  • the district is unable to fund a schematic design within 90 days of invitation and a total project budget within 12 months of invitation.

Historically, the MSBA has invited approximately 25 to 50 SOIs for the ARP annually. The number of invitations that the Board authorizes each year varies. Should the MSBA be required to limit the number of invitations due to its annual program budget, the MSBA will re-evaluate the advertised qualifying age criteria. 

In 2017, due to the volume of SOIs submitted, the MSBA for the first time increased the qualifying ages of systems after SOIs were received. After the 2017 SOI opening advertised 20 years as the qualifying age for all three systems, only systems of 30 years or more were invited.  In 2018, in anticipation of continued high volume of SOIs, the MSBA advertised a budget of approximately $50 million for grants. The MSBA reviews these advertised qualifying ages for systems as well as the grant budget annually and may adjust one or both as may be needed.  Similar to the dates for the SOI filing period, the SOI opening information is published on the MSBA’s website each year along with notice provided to all districts via the superintendent.

The table below illustrates a summary of qualifying and invited SOIs beginning in 2018. A table illustrating the number of SOIs which have resulted in Project Funding Agreements for the ARP can be found here. 


* ARP paused per October 26, 2022 Board of Directors Vote

The Program Budget

The Commonwealth irrevocably dedicated a 1% statewide sales tax, known as the School Modernization Trust fund (‘SMART Fund’), to the MSBA’s capital program. The sales tax collection informs the amount of funding which the MSBA can obligate for projects.   

Based on the popularity of the Green Repair Program, created in 2010 through Qualified School Construction Bonds, the MSBA introduced the Accelerated Repair Program, starting in 2012, with an estimated budget within the Annual Cap of $50 million.  In 2021, the MSBA increased   the estimated budget within the Annual Cap to $75 million. 

Section 36, approved as part of the Commonwealth’s FY 24 Budget, provides that grant amounts related to the MSBA’s Accelerated Repair Program shall no longer count against the Annual Cap limit. Subsequently, the MSBA Board of Directors approved an estimated annual budget of $150 million for projects invited to the ARP in 2024.

The SOI Due Diligence Process

The SOI process involves the district filing an electronic version of an SOI and accompanying vote(s) with the MSBA by the established submission deadline. MSBA staff is readily available to address concerns, questions, and issues during the filing period.  Once the filing period has closed, MSBA staff commence the due diligence process for all SOIs. This is a four-phase process, which includes:

This four-phase process includes:

  1. Review SOI submissions for completeness;
  2. Review SOI submissions and accompanying documents for content;
  3. Conduct staff study visits, if required; and,
  4. Recommend SOIs for invitation into the ARP.

During this process, the MSBA may seek to obtain additional or clarifying information from districts.  As the MSBA reviews the entire cohort of SOIs received, it will determine the appropriate level of due diligence that will be required for each SOI and will notify districts of next steps accordingly.

1. Review SOI submission for completeness:

Once the SOI system has closed, MSBA staff review each submission to check that all the required materials have been received. The MSBA works with districts throughout the filing period to ensure that the SOI is complete.

For all SOI submissions, the district needs to provide:

  • An electronic version of the SOI with the required electronic signatures. There are two separate certifications in each SOI where district officials need to sign;
  • An electronic version of the Closed Schools Certification with the required electronic signatures;
  • Any supporting materials required to be submitted with the SOI and/or any supplemental materials districts want to submit with the SOI; and,
  • All required vote documentation must be uploaded in the SOI system in order to submit an SOI and in the prescribed format set forth within the MSBA’s SOI Application System.
    • Cities and Towns must submit the following vote documentation:
      • Vote of the municipal governing body (i.e. City Council/Board of Aldermen/Board of Selectmen/equivalent governing body) authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to submit the SOI.
      • Vote of the School Committee authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to submit the SOI (meeting minutes are NOT required).
    • Regional School Districts must submit the following vote documentation: 
      • Vote of the Regional School Committee authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to submit the SOI (meeting minutes are NOT required).

2. Review each SOI submission and accompanying documents for content:

Once an SOI is determined to be complete, MSBA staff review the information and any additional documents submitted by the district. MSBA staff then compile the data necessary to assess which SOIs filed in that calendar year may qualify for the ARP.
Evaluating the qualifying factors relies on many different data sources. MSBA staff use the SOI, the MSBA project management system, the MSBA’s 2016 School Survey, as well as information from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (“DESE”) website. Many factors can impact the assessment of an SOI, such as overcrowding, building condition, general environment, and program deficiencies. As such, it is important to assemble as much data as possible so that staff may gain a thorough understanding of the issues identified in the SOI. 

An analysis of the qualifying factors produces a group of SOIs for further consideration. Depending on the volume of qualifying SOIs, the MSBA may have to introduce additional or more limiting factors to maintain the annual ARP budget. Further review of SOIs may or may not require a staff study visit.

3. Conduct Staff Study Visits, if required:

If MSBA staff determine that a staff study visit is needed to complete the due diligence process, MSBA staff will visit the facility identified in the SOI. The MSBA may conduct facility visits either virtually, in-person or a combination of virtual and in-person. The MSBA may request the use of alternative technology to complete the visits such as virtual meetings, drones, district-supplied recordings or other means to conduct the visit. Depending upon the method used, the staff study visit may be conducted in two parts, holding the meeting and the facility tour, at different times and days.

The staff study visit lasts approximately one hour and is an opportunity for the MSBA to further understand the issues identified in the district’s SOI. MSBA staff request  that the district have someone familiar with the facilities and systems as well as someone familiar with the financial readiness of the district present for the visit. The district is requested to provide a copy of the SOI floor plans (emergency/evacuation plans are sufficient) ahead of the MSBA’s visit.

The staff study visit starts with a meeting to review the SOI and the MSBA process, and then to hear district concerns. The discussion is followed by a tour of the main areas of the school, as well as typical general classrooms and specialty spaces. If the district’s SOI includes the replacement of the roof, then access to the roof should be provided to MSBA staff.

Dependent upon the number of staff study visits that are required, this phase can take approximately 4 to 8 weeks, with visits typically scheduled from July through September. This timeframe may vary.

4. Recommend SOIs for Invitation into the Accelerated Repair Program:

Once the content review and staff study visits have been completed, MSBA staff once again review the factors, noted above, that can impact the assessment of the SOIs. As stated above, due to the program budget, the MSBA may be constrained to limit the number of ARP projects in a given year. 

MSBA staff then provide their findings to the Chief Executive Officer,Executive Director/Deputy Chief Executive Officer and the MSBA’s Facilities Assessment Subcommittee. Recommendations are then presented to the MSBA Board of Directors and the Board of Directors vote to invite districts into the Eligibility Period.