- 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.
- Is my district eligible for COVID-relief funding?
The Federal Government has enacted multiple pieces of legislation containing COVID-related funding for schools. While this funding is expected to reach many of the school districts in the Commonwealth, the MSBA is not charged with overseeing the allocation or facilitating the disbursement of these funds. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will play a role in the allocation and disbursement of these funds. DESE has designated a liaison for each school district in the Commonwealth. For more information about federal funding, please contact the appropriate district liaison from the list found here:
Alternatively, you may email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Is there a deadline for applying for reimbursement for COVID related costs?
Each legislative package contained varying amounts of funding, restrictions, and deadlines. As described above, DESE was charged with oversight, allocation, and disbursement of those funds for school districts. Any questions about deadlines should be addressed to DESE as indicated above.
- If a district receives reimbursement through federal legislation such as 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, the CARES Act, or other legislation.
- 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 consider 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.