Getting Started: Information for members of the Press
What is the MSBA?
The MSBA is the Massachusetts School Building Authority. We are a quasi-independent government authority created in 2004 to replace the former school building assistance program administered by the Department of Education (now the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education). We work with local communities to create affordable, sustainable, and energy efficient schools across Massachusetts.
We are overseen by a seven-member Board of Directors, chaired by State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. The Board meets six times a year to approve projects through a diligent voting process ensuring that our limited funds are distributed in a responsible and fair manner.
Our staff is led by our Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Jack McCarthy. MSBA employees are focused on achieving the MSBA's mission of partnering with communities to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable, and cost-effective public school facilities.
You can learn more about us, what we do, and some of our proud achievements in our About Us section.
Where can I find your press releases?
Our press releases are published in our Press Room, but many also appear in the scrolling News & Events feature on our home page. When a project has been presented at our Board of Directors’ Meeting, you can find the press releases from that meeting on our Board of Directors' page following the meeting. Click on the “Information from Past…Meetings” to find any relevant releases or information pertinent to a particular Board Meeting.
For additional information about a particular release, contact our Director of External Affairs Maria Puopolo at 617-720-4466.
How does a district start working with the MSBA?
The district submits a Statement of Interest ("SOI") during our open submittal period.
Submitting an SOI is not an invitation into the MSBA's capital pipeline; it is the first step in the MSBA's program. Moving forward in the MSBA's process requires further collaboration and a partnership between the district and the MSBA.
Once a district submits a Statement of Interest, what happens next?
MSBA staff review the submitted SOIs and work to validate the issues identified by districts in their SOI submittals. During this due diligence process, which can take several months to complete, the MSBA may seek to obtain additional or clarifying information from districts. As the MSBA continues its internal vetting of the SOIs, it will determine the appropriate level of due diligence that will be required for each SOI and will notify districts of next steps accordingly.
If the MSBA invites a district into the Eligibility Period for their priority SOI, which requires a vote of the MSBA Board of Directors, the district and the MSBA will work collaboratively to determine potential solutions to the issues identified in the SOI.
Where can I find more information about the MSBA’s process?
The MSBA process is broken down into modules in our Building With Us section. The Building With Us page includes a flow chart showing the overview of the process. You can also print out these Process Overview Charts (PDF) for reference and contact us with your questions.
What programs and initiatives are available to districts?
Outside of standard new construction or addition/renovation projects, the MSBA currently offers two programs that a potential project could be eligible for:
I know the MSBA is working with a district on a project; how can I stay updated on that project?
There are many ways the MSBA distributes information on a project:
- A general overview of the district's public schools and projects in which the MSBA is participating can be found using our Your School map tool. Just select your district and select "View Projects..." at the top.
- Information on upcoming site visits and events are posted on our Calendar. You can also follow us on Twitter or "like us" on Facebook to get daily updates on site visits, meetings, and other announcements.
- As you can see in our Building With Us section, the MSBA’s Board of Directors approves projects, at various points, as they travel through our Capital Pipeline. Districts with projects requiring Board approval for a preferred schematic design will be asked to present information about the project at a Facilities Assessment Subcommittee (“FAS”) meeting in advance of the Board Meeting at which the project vote will occur. The FAS agenda is posted ahead of time and will include the district(s) that are scheduled to present. Additionally, following the FAS meeting, the results are posted under the “Meeting Information” section of the FAS page.
- When a project has been presented at our Board of Directors' meeting, you can find the information on our Board Meetings page following the meeting. Click on the "Information from Past…Meetings" to view a particular Board Meeting and the materials presented. In most cases, clicking the district name on the agenda will link to the Board memo that was presented. Board memos contain detailed information on a project, and may include specifics on enrollment and square footage, estimated and maximum total facilities grants, project issues and concerns, reimbursement rates, and Board votes.
- You can view MSBA payments to a district using our projected Prior Grant Payments information, which is updated annually.
- The MSBA has conducted two Needs Surveys (in 2005 and 2010), to assess the condition of the more than 1,750 elementary and secondary public schools across the Commonwealth.
- Don't forget to use our Search Engine as well, located at the top right corner on every page.
What is an Owner’s Project Manager ("OPM")?
The success of a school building project is dependent on the performance of the Owner’s Project Manager ("OPM") and the OPM’s ability to facilitate an effective working relationship with the owner, designer, contractor, and others involved in the project. As a representative of the interests of both the Owner and the MSBA, the OPM is the focal point for accountability and must be independent of the other project participants. The OPM Review Panel assists districts with the selection of qualified OPMs, who will manage the process of design and construction from beginning to end. According to state law, if construction costs are estimated to be $1.5 million or more, an OPM is required.
Information about upcoming meetings of the OPM Review Panel and meeting agendas are available on the OPM Process page.
What is the Designer Selection Panel ("DSP")?
The Designer Selection Panel has jurisdiction over the procurement of designers in connection with cities, towns, regional school districts, and independent agricultural and technical schools seeking funding from the MSBA for public school construction projects whose estimated construction cost is anticipated to be $5,000,000 or greater. Learn more about the Designer Selection process, view information about upcoming meetings, meeting agendas, and meeting results on the Designer Selection Process page.
How does the MSBA help a district get the required votes for a project?
This is a common misunderstanding we face: the responsibilities for project support on the local level (the district) versus the State level (the MSBA). The MSBA is a non-entitlement, competitive, funding program. We determine grants based on need and urgency, as expressed by the district and validated by us. We work with the district to determine the most educationally-appropriate and fiscally-responsible solution and determine the portion of funds the MSBA will appropriate. It is not our responsibility to garner support for a project within a district. Our funds are targeted towards projects and districts that are ready and able to make the financial commitment and move forward in a timely manner. To that end, if a particular district is unwilling or unable to make that commitment, we have a responsibility to the Commonwealth to move forward with another project that can demonstrate that commitment. This question often leads to our requirements for the form of local votes necessary to appropriate and authorize local funding for a project and what happens if a district fails to appropriate local funding for a project. For more information, use our Vote Requirements page.
How can I obtain a comment/quote from the CEO or Deputy CEO/Executive Director for my story?
To set up an interview with Deputy CEO/Executive Director Jack McCarthy, or to obtain an official MSBA comment on a news item, contact Director of External Affairs Maria Puopolo at 617-720-4466.
Still have questions?
Please contact our Director of External Affairs Maria Puopolo at 617-720-4466.