Massachusetts School Building Authority
The Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) is a quasi-independent public authority created to provide grants to public municipal and regional school districts for kindergarten through high school construction and renovation projects throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The MSBA works with municipal and regional school districts to identify and partially fund school facility needs, develop fiscally responsible and educationally appropriate buildings and create safe, sound and sustainable facilities. The MSBA revenue source is one cent of the Commonwealth's 6.25-percent sales tax. The MSBA funds a percentage of the approved eligible building project costs; depending upon the school districts's economic health, the percentage can vary from 31 to 80 percent of project.
In 2004, the Massachusetts legislature placed a moratorium on state assistance to the funding of public school capital improvement projects. This moratorium was necessitated by a backlog of more than 800 audits and a shortfall in funding that accumulated a debt of more than $10 billion from the operations of the former School Building Assistance Program (SBA) administered by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The Legislature enacted the bill creating the MSBA in July 2004; on July 26, the then Governor, Mitt Romney, signed the bill into law as Chapter 208 of the Acts of 2004, establishing the new public authority, which assumed responsibility for the School Building Assistance Program.
The MSBA’s first years were devoted to implementing an accelerated audit program to resolve prior School Building Assistance Program commitments to local school districts. By the end of 2006, debt and backlogged audits had been sufficiently reduced to permit the lifting of the moratorium. In 2007, the MSBA began accepting new capital projects for consideration.
Since its creation, the MSBA has made more than $8.7 billion in reimbursements to cities, towns and regional school districts for school construction projects. Instead of waiting years for reimbursement, districts now receive payments from the MSBA as costs are incurred. These timely payments have saved municipalities over $2.9 billion in avoided local interest costs. To fulfill its mission of developing fiscally responsible and educationally appropriate capital improvements, the MSBA has accomplished the following:
- Made full or partial payments to more than 415 of the 428 projects on the waiting list, with funding available for the remaining projects once they begin construction
- Received and processed over 180 Statements of Interest from communities interested in participating in the program
- Instituted an accelerated audit program that has completed more than 772 of the 800 backlogged audits inherited from the former program
- Audited over $14 billion in project costs
- Generated $2.9 billion in avoided local interest costs by increasing speed and efficiency with which projects move through the capital pipeline
- Saved the taxpayers of Massachusetts over $1.1 billion through strategies that included: establishment of reasonable enrollment projections; increased oversight of school improvement projects to establish reasonable project budgets and to contain growth in scope or budget; and due diligence exercised by making more than 450 site visits to more than 160 school districts
- "Massachusetts School Building Authority Debt Management Policy". Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "Massachusetts School Building Authority: About Us". no date. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- Kinney, Jim (April 22, 2012). "Massachusetts school building is a major player in heavy construction". Springfield Republican (MassLive.com). Retrieved April 22, 2012.
- "School Finance: School Building Issues". Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
- "CHAPTER 208: An Act Relative to School Building Assistance". Session Laws. Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Approved July 26, 2004.