New Law Gives MSBA Authority to Compensate for Costs Not Covered by FEMA
Treasurer Steven Grossman, Chairman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), and Jack McCarthy, MSBA Executive Director, today announced that the Authority plans to reimburse the City of Springfield for the costs of rebuilding two storm-damaged schools that are not fully covered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The two schools that were damaged by the June 2nd, 2011 tornado are the Mary A. Dryden Veterans Memorial School and the Elias Brookings School.
“Just days after the tornado hit, we visited these two schools and got a firsthand look at the damage that this natural disaster left in its wake,” said Treasurer Grossman. “The MSBA is proud to stand with the City of Springfield and its children as we commit to fund and rebuild these two schools.”
Under state law, the MSBA cannot pay for more than 80 percent of a school building project. Last week, however, the Governor signed legislation that permits the MSBA to fund more than the 80 percent ceiling for schools that were damaged by a federally declared disaster between June 1st, 2011 and August 1st, 2012. The amount of the reimbursement over the 80 percent is at the discretion of the MSBA. “Over the past year, the MSBA has partnered with Springfield in the process of reconstructing these schools in an educationally appropriate and cost effective way,” said Executive Director McCarthy. “And thanks to the leadership shown by our Chairman Steve Grossman and the MSBA Board, and to members of the legislature, we are able to assist with the rebuilding of these damaged schools.” The tornado tore a large portion of the roof off of the Dryden School and tore through the hallways of the Brookings School, leaving a swath of destruction in its wake. Shortly after the schools were damaged, Grossman and local officials, and MSBA staff toured the facilities and committed to doing all they could to expedite repair and minimize the City’s financial exposure in the face of this singular natural disaster.
Grossman credited Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno for tirelessly advocating for the assistance, as well as Senator James Welch and the entire Springfield legislative delegation for crafting and securing passage of the law that will allow more MSBA funds to flow to these two projects. “I am deeply appreciative to State Treasurer Steve Grossman, who again lives up to his word and follows through,” said Mayor Sarno. “Also, many thanks to MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy and our entire Western Massachusetts Legislative Delegation, especially Senator Jim Welch and Senator Gale Candaras. Because of this team effort our school children, their families and the affected neighborhoods will continue to come back bigger, better and stronger in the aftermath of the devastating tornado. “Rebuilding our schools is extremely important and should be one of the main priorities when a city or town has been impacted the way Springfield was,” said Senator James Welch. “The impact of the tornado continues to affect municipality budgets and I know the grant from the MSBA will be helpful to the City of Springfield. I want to thank Treasurer Grossman, Jack McCarthy and the MSBA for their support in this effort.”
“Thanks to the efforts of Governor Patrick, Treasurer Grossman and my House and Senate colleagues, the Massachusetts School Building Authority now has the legal authority to reimburse fully the City of Springfield for tornado-related damage to the Mary A. Dryden Memorial School and the Elias Brookings Magnet School,” said Senator Candaras. “This was a promise we made and a promise we kept to our Springfield children and families. Hopefully, the restored schools will encourage and help our children heal and focus on the very bright futures ahead for them!" The MSBA partners with Massachusetts communities to support the design and construction of educationally-appropriate, flexible, sustainable, and cost-effective public school facilities. Since its inception, the Authority has made $8.9 billion in reimbursements for school construction projects. These timely payments have saved municipalities over $2.9 billion in avoided local interest costs and have provided much needed cash flow to communities.