Statement of Interest Frequently Asked Questions: 2017

Q: What is a Statement of Interest (SOI)?

A: An SOI is a form that can be completed by cities, towns, and regional school districts ("Districts") that are seeking funding from the MSBA. Submitting an SOI is the first step in the Massachusetts School Building Authority ("MSBA") program for school building construction, addition/renovation, and repair grants. The SOI asks the District to state what it believes are the deficiencies in a school building and how those deficiencies fit the statutory priorities established in MGL c.70B.

Q: Should the SOI propose a solution to the deficiencies cited?

A: The purpose of the SOI is for the District to identify perceived deficiencies within a school facility. The MSBA and the District would then work in partnership to identify possible solutions if/when the District is invited by the MSBA Board of Directors into the Capital Pipeline (Core Program or Accelerated Repair Program). If a District is invited into the Capital Pipeline, the MSBA and the District will begin collaboration to determine the most educationally-appropriate and cost-effective solution to the deficiencies in a building. A District should indicate in the drop-down menu in the SOI the type of project it believes is appropriate: potential new school, addition/renovation, repair project (including major repair to a facility or accelerated repair to a roof, window, or boiler). In the SOI section titled "District Goal for School," the District should also provide information about what the District feels is a potential solution to the facilities issues that have been identified in the SOI

Q: How many SOIs can a District submit?

A: We do not limit the number of SOIs that a District can submit; however, an SOI should only be filed for a facility where a District has the ability to gain the proper local approvals and fund a project in the next two years. A District is only allowed to submit one SOI per school facility and should detail all of the facility's deficiencies in that one SOI. If a District submits SOIs for more than one facility, it will be required to select one SOI as the "district priority SOI" for consideration and due diligence efforts by the MSBA. With each 2017 SOI online submission, the District will need to designate its "district priority SOI" in the online SOI System. If the District already has an SOI in our Capital Pipeline, that SOI is the District's priority for 2017 and will continue to be considered the District’s priority SOI until the time of project completion. Please note, if applicable, Districts may express the need for multiple accelerated repair projects (generally projects for the repair and/or replacement of windows, roofs, and/or boilers).

Q: Should a District seek professional assistance to complete an SOI?

A: No. Districts should not seek professional assistance to complete an SOI. The SOI affords a District the opportunity to articulate its thoughts about problems that may exist in a local school facility. We expect that the SOI can be completed at no cost to the District. Districts will NOT be reimbursed for any expenses that may be incurred in connection with the completion and submission of an SOI. The process of completing and submitting an SOI will require dedicated time from the District. We recommend that the District plan ahead and allocate sufficient time to answer the questions posed in the SOI, secure the appropriate signatures, and take the required local votes.

Q: Who files an SOI?

A: The Superintendent of Schools files the SOI after having been authorized to do so by the city, town, or regional school district school committee and, except in the case of a regional school district, by the local governing body (e.g., City Council/Aldermen/Board of Selectmen).

Q: Why is it necessary to have votes authorizing submission of an SOI?

A: In order to show the support of the local officials for the submission of an SOI, we require votes from the local school committee and, except in the case of a regional school district, the local governing body (e.g., City Council/Aldermen/Board of Selectmen) authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to submit an SOI.

Q: Is there a required text for the votes authorizing an SOI?

A: Yes. The votes of the local governing body and the school committee must use substantially the same wording that is set forth in the Form of Vote that is detailed in the SOI. The text of the motions voted must reference the school name and the deficiencies that have been identified in the SOI. The deficiencies can be listed in the text of the vote as the numerical priorities and the descriptions that were selected on the second page of the SOI by the District. For the vote of the City Council/Aldermen/Board of Selectmen, a copy of the text of the vote must be submitted with a certification of the City/Town Clerk that the vote was duly taken and recorded. The date of the vote must be provided. For the vote of the School Committee, minutes of the School Committee meeting at which the vote was taken must be submitted with the original signature of the Committee Chairperson. The School Committee minutes should contain the text of the motion that was voted.

Q: If my district is ready to take the required local votes to submit an SOI and we do not yet know the SOI date (the date the SOI will be submitted online) to use in the vote language, what should I do?

A:If a district does not know the date the SOI will be submitted online (the SOI date) but is ready to take the required local votes to submit the SOI, the district should reference the SOI "that will be submitted to the MSBA by no later than Friday, April 7, 2017* for consideration in 2017" in the text of the votes. The district must have current votes to submit an SOI for consideration in 2017 and should not re-submit a vote taken to submit an SOI in a previous fiscal year.

*For Accelerated Repair SOIs, use the closing date of Friday, February 12, 2017.

Q: How does a District file an SOI?

A: The Superintendent must obtain the District Access Form and follow the instructions to submit it to the MSBA during an open submittal period. The deadline for submitting an SOI for consideration in 2017 is Friday, February 12, 2017 for the Accelerated Repair Program and Friday, April 7, 2017 for the Core Program.

Q: Who signs off on the SOI submittal?

A: In addition to the vote requirements noted above, once the SOI has been submitted online, the District must print out the hard copy SOI document and obtain the signatures of the following local officials on both certification pages: the Superintendent of Schools, the District’s School Committee Chair, and the Local Chief Executive Officer of the District. In some Districts two of the required signatures may be that of the same person (i.e., In some cities the Mayor is also the Chairman of the School Committee.). If this is the case, please have that person sign the SOI in both locations. Please do not leave any of the signatures blank as it will result in an incomplete submittal.

Q: Who is the Local Chief Executive Officer?

A: In a city or town with a manager form of government, the manager of the municipality is the Local Chief Executive Officer. In other cities, the Mayor is the Local Chief Executive Officer, and in other towns, the Board of Selectmen is the Local Chief Executive Officer unless, in a city or town, some other municipal office is designated as the chief executive office under the provisions of a local charter.

Q: What is the Accelerated Repair Program and how does a District file an SOI for the Accelerated Repair Program?

A: The Accelerated Repair Program is for the repair and/or replacement of roofs, windows, and/or boilers with the potential to include additional systems as may be determined by the MSBA contingent upon available funding and capacity in the Capital Pipeline. The Accelerated Repair Program focuses on the preservation of existing assets by performing energy-efficient and cost-saving upgrades, which will result in direct operational savings for Districts.

The deadline for submitting an SOI for the Accelerated Repair Program for consideration in 2017 is Friday, February 17, 2017.

Q: Does the Accelerated Repair Program have special requirements?

A: SOIs that are invited into the Accelerated Repair Program will be required to use pre-qualified OPMs and designers and adhere to other requirements that are unique to this Program, such as implementing an accelerated project schedule. Districts that are ultimately invited by a vote of the MSBA Board of Directors into the Accelerated Repair Program may be able to undertake multiple projects simultaneously, but must be able to evidence the ability to obtain necessary funding in a timely manner

Q: Does the District need to submit student enrollment information along with its SOI?

A: No. In the past, Districts were required to submit limited enrollment-related information when submitting an SOI based on enrollment factors (statutory priorities 2, 4, and 6). Due to our redesigned Enrollment Projection System, Districts are no longer required to submit enrollment information at the time of filing an SOI. However, we will engage in enrollment discussions with the District prior to invitation into the Capital Pipeline. Specifically, much of the enrollment projection collaboration now occurs when the District is invited into our Eligibility Period.

Q: How does the pre-populate option work?

A: To assist Districts that are filing an SOI for a school facility that was the subject of an SOI that was submitted in 2016, we have the ability to recall the data that was provided in a District’s 2016 SOI submission and pre-populate a new SOI with that data. The District can then edit the information and update the SOI prior to submitting it for consideration in 2017. To request that we pre-populate a 2017 SOI template with data that was previously provided, please complete the necessary information in the MSBA System Pre-population Request Form (will hyperlink to 2017 Pre-Population word doc). Please make sure to note whether we should also pre-populate any closed school information.

Q: What happens after the MSBA receives the SOI?

A: The information provided in the SOI will play an important role in helping us understand the needs at a particular school facility and to decide whether to move forward with a District for further assessment of a facility. Once an SOI has been submitted and reviewed, we will be working with Districts to validate the problem(s) identified in the SOI and, if appropriate, collaborate on potential solutions. We will then notify Districts about the next steps.

Q: How long will the MSBA approval process take?

A: That depends on several factors, including: the extent and urgency of the problems described in the SOI; the extent and urgency of the problems relative to other SOIs that have been filed; the number of potential solutions that may need to be explored with a District; the amount of time required for the MSBA and the District to agree upon an educationally and financially sound solution; the ability of the District to fund its portion of the agreed-upon solution; and many other factors that all could impact timing.

We remain committed to working as diligently as possible to review all SOI submissions and to collaborating with Districts that are invited to move forward in our process through all phases of project approval, design, and construction

Q: Does the MSBA work with Districts on a "first come, first served" basis?

A: No. Our grant program is based on urgency and need, consistent with the eight statutory criteria, and not the time of the SOI submission.

Q: Where can I find out more about filing an SOI?

A: For questions regarding SOIs, please email 2017SOI@massschoolbuildings.org or contact Diane Sullivan via e-mail or at 617-720-4466.