To further maximize resources, the MSBA has formalized and streamlined the beginning of its grant process with the establishment of an Eligibility Period, which has and will continue to result in several benefits to the District and the MSBA. The Eligibility Period assists the MSBA with managing its financial resources by identifying early in the process whether a District is ready to manage and fund a capital project. It will help to determine a District’s financial and community readiness to enter the capital pipeline. It will also assist Districts locally by providing a definitive schedule and identifying needs for planning and budgeting.
A vote of the MSBA Board of Directors to invite a District into the Eligibility Period is based on a review of the District’s Statement of Interest ("SOI") and staff due diligence and recommendation. The vote initiates a 270-day period for the District to complete certain preliminary requirements that include: 1) a certification of the District’s understanding of the grant program rules by executing an Initial Compliance Certification; 2) forming a School Building Committee and submitting the membership to the MSBA for acceptance; 3) completing an Educational Profile Questionnaire to further inform the MSBA’s understanding of the District’s current and proposed educational facilities, teaching methodology, grade configurations and program offerings; 4) a summary of the District’s existing maintenance practices; 5) certification of a design enrollment for the proposed project agreed upon with the MSBA (may not be applicable for Repair Assessments depending on the proposed scope of work); 6) confirmation of community authorization and funding to proceed (see MSBA Vote Requirements); and, 7) execution of the MSBA’s standard Feasibility Study Agreement, which establishes a process for the District to be reimbursed for eligible expenses.
Districts that successfully complete the preliminary requirements to the satisfaction of the MSBA within the 270-day Eligibility Period are eligible to receive an invitation from the MSBA Board of Directors to the Feasibility Study phase. This phase involves the District utilizing MSBA-specific procurement processes and standard Request for Services ("RFS") templates and contracts to procure a team of professionals to work with the District as a proposed project advances through the MSBA grant process as defined in Module 2.
Districts that are able to successfully complete the preliminary requirements in less than 270 days may receive an invitation earlier than 270 days, as determined by the MSBA. An invitation to the Eligibility Period is not an invitation to Feasibility Study and it does not guarantee an invitation to the MSBA’s capital pipeline. Districts that do not successfully complete the preliminary requirements within the 270-day period will have to re-file an SOI during the next open SOI filing period.
The MSBA’s program for school building construction and renovation grants is a non-entitlement competitive grant program. Grants are distributed by the MSBA’s Board of Directors based on need and urgency, as expressed by the District and validated by the MSBA. Submitting an SOI is the critical first step in the MSBA’s program for school building construction and renovation grants.
2020 SOI Process
The 2020 SOI submittal period opened on January 8, 2020. The deadline to file SOIs for consideration into the Accelerated Repair Program, which is primarily for the replacement of roofs, windows/doors, and/or boilers in an otherwise structurally sound facility was Friday, February 14, 2020. The MSBA received 90 ARP SOIs for consideration. The deadline to file SOIs for consideration into the Core Program, which is primarily for projects beyond the scope of ARP, including extensive repairs, renovations, additions/renovations, and new school construction, was Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The MSBA received 71 Core Program SOIs for consideration.
For qualifying ARP SOIs, staff completed site visits for roof and window/door projects in coordination with MassDOT's Aeronautics Drone Program and received photo documentation of existing boiler room equipment for boiler projects. Staff presented initial recommendations for invitation at the December 2, 2020 Facilities Assessment Subcommittee. At the December 16, 2020 Board meeting, the Board of Directors approved invitations for 18 districts representing 25 schools into the ARP.
Due to ongoing public health issues, the MSBA’s due diligence for the Core Program, which includes senior stud visits to select schools, has been delayed. Unlike prior years in which project invitations were approved at the December Board meeting, staff have now completed the virtual site visits and are preparing recommendations for invitation to the Core Program at the April 14, 2021 Board of Directors meeting.
At the April 14, 2021 Board Meeting
- Three Districts were invited to Feasibility Study:
- Nashoba Regional School District, Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School District, Whitman-Hanson Regional School District