Needs Survey

The MSBA’s enabling statute requires that a periodic Needs Survey be conducted to assess the condition of the more than 1,750 elementary and secondary public schools across the Commonwealth. In 2005, the MSBA completed the first Needs Survey, which established a centralized database of school building condition information.

The data collected during the 2010 Needs Survey assists the MSBA in understanding the current general facility conditions at Massachusetts schools and validates, updates, and supplements the information gathered during the initial Needs Survey in 2005.
Below is an overview of some of the findings in the 2010 Needs Survey (pdf).
  • 84% of schools received top scores for building conditions.
  • Only 23 schools, less than 2%, received the lowest rating for building conditions.
  • 92% of schools have adequate space to support current enrollment and educational programs.
  • 97% of schools received top scores for general learning environment.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 70 million square feet of school facility space, about 40% of the total square footage in the state, was built new or renovated.
  • Of the 62 schools that received the lowest rating in the 2005 Needs Survey, 9 have received funding from the MSBA, 19 are in the Capital Pipeline and 6 have closed. Of the 278 schools that were given the second poorest rating, 53 received funding from the MSBA and 89 are in the Capital Pipeline.
  • More than one out of every five schools received a Below Average space utilization rating, meaning that the building appears to be significantly larger than its current enrollment or educational program requires.
  • There are more than 150 district-owned school buildings that are not currently used for the education of public school children.
  • More than 80 public schools have closed since the initial Needs Survey in 2005. Nearly 40 closed due to lack of enrollment, including some schools that were recently built or renovated under the former program. At least seven schools have closed since the end of the 2009-2010 academic year.
  • Nearly 1 million square feet of classroom space is no longer being used for education. The combined costs of building those excess classrooms today would be approximately $275 million.

View the April 29, 2011 Needs Survey Presentation to the CEFPI Northeast Region Conference.

During the Needs Survey process, the MSBA compiled Needs Survey FAQs and produced an Interactive Webinar to answer questions about the Needs Survey.