- My district is working with the MSBA on a proposed/approved school project. Does the MSBA have guidance related to COVID protocols?
The MSBA does not have any protocols specific to COVID. We encourage districts and their teams to review guidance issued by the State.
- My project is experiencing unanticipated costs related to COVID protocols. Will the MSBA reimburse for these expenses?
On April 17, 2020, the MSBA issued a communication to all districts, found here. As noted in this communication, the MSBA Board of Directors sets the grant amount and reimbursement rate that a district can receive at the time of project approval and we cannot later increase that amount in order to remain in line with our annual funding cap limitation. As a matter of policy, the MSBA does not reimburse for change orders due to schedule delays or accelerated costs, and we have caps on change orders that are set at the time of project approval. We have done our programmatic planning and based our capital pipeline invitations according to this process and based on the annual funding cap limitation that we have. To change our processes or make exceptions would have a profound impact on our future program and impact the ability to continue with other projects in our pipeline.
- Where can I apply for reimbursement for COVID related costs?
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the "CARES Act") includes funds for Massachusetts governments to use to pay costs incurred in responding to the COVID19 outbreak. There may be other grants available and districts should work with their municipal officials to understand what opportunities are available.
- How much money did Massachusetts receive through the CARES Act?
The CARES Act authorized $150B through the Coronavirus Relief Fund for state and local governments, including $2.7B for Massachusetts. Aside from large local government units (Boston and Plymouth County), funds have been sent in the first instance to the state, with the expectation that the state will use funds for its own expenses and those of municipalities.
- How do I apply for reimbursement for COVID related costs under the CARES Act?
Except for the City of Boston and districts within Plymouth County, the following memorandum provides guidance on what is eligible and how to apply.
- Is there a deadline for applying for reimbursement for COVID related costs?
Per the memorandum from the Secretary of Administration and Finance dated May 14, 2020, except for the City of Boston and districts within Plymouth County, districts should apply by June 5, 2020.
- Where can I seek reimbursement if my project is in a district in Plymouth County?
Municipalities located in Plymouth County should contact county officials for information about the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The MSBA encourages districts to submit any applicable COVID related costs that the district has incurred or will incur for its current MSBA-funded school project(s) directly to Plymouth County. Please check with the appropriate county officials to understand the application process and the deadlines. To learn more about resources or eligible uses for cities and towns residing in Plymouth County, please contact Frank Basler, Plymouth County Administrator, at (508) 830-9104 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Where can I seek reimbursement if my project is in the City of Boston?
To learn more about resources or eligible uses for the City of Boston, please work with the City to identify the appropriate City officials to understand the application process and the deadlines.
- If the district receives reimbursement through the CARES Act or other grant money for its school project, will the MSBA treat these reimbursements as third-party funding?
If a district receives reimbursement through FEMA, the CARES Act or other grant specific to COVID related costs, the MSBA will request that the district inform the MSBA of the amount received. However, the MSBA will not treat this reimbursement as third-party funding and will not reduce the MSBA grant as long as the costs for which the district received reimbursement were found ineligible when submitted to the MSBA. Please note the importance of tracking any COVID related costs and keeping them separate from other project costs. This will be critical to ensure clarity either when seeking reimbursement from the MSBA or submitting applications for reimbursement through FEMA and/or the CARES Act.
- Are you aware of any impact to construction schedules, potential costs, etc., occurring on MSBA projects throughout the Commonwealth?
Each district and each project is facing its own challenges depending on what phase the project is in, as well as each district’s decisions on implementing COVID-19 guidelines.
- If my MSBA-funded project is experiencing delays and/or I need to request additional time to vote for local approval, will the MSBA provide an extension to the feasibility study agreement and/or allow additional time beyond the 120-day deadline to obtain local approval?
The MSBA remains committed to our partnership with districts and we continue to accept reimbursement requests, contracts and other documents electronically so we can continue to support project approvals and reimburse districts throughout this pandemic. In addition, the MSBA is taking multiple steps to assist districts. We are holding Board, Subcommittee, Panel and other MSBA meetings remotely so the MSBA process can continue to move forward. Additionally, the MSBA is working with districts to provide flexibility with extensions and MSBA deliverables. If you require additional time, please contact the Project Coordinator assigned to your project to discuss how to seek an extension.
- MSBA communications regarding COVID related protocols and costs:
- Initial MSBA communication - April 17, 2020
- MSBA information email transmitting guidance from the Secretary of Administration and Finance:
- Memorandum from the Secretary of Administration and Finance dated May 14, 2020: FY 20 Aid to Municipalities for COVID-19 Costs
- Memorandum from the Secretary of Administration and Finance dated May 14, 2020: Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund
- DLS Alert Dated 5/21/20