Section 5. An eligible applicant may submit to the authority a statement of interest which shall be approved by a vote of the applicable local governing body or bodies as set forth and in a form prescribed by the authority, and which shall state what the eligible applicant believes are the deficiencies in said eligible applicant’s respective school facilities that meet one or more of the statutory priorities set forth in section 6, 8 and 9 of this chapter or in such additional regulations as the authority may promulgate. Said statement of interest shall be accompanied by such additional forms, documents, and information as the authority shall deem necessary to review the statement. The submission for a statement of interest shall not commit the authority to accept any further application materials, approve an application, or provide a grant or any other type of funding, or place any other obligation or requirement upon the authority. The authority shall notify an eligible applicant if the authority determines that the statement of interest has not met the criteria established in said sections 6, 8, and 9.
If the authority determines that the statement of interest and associated material merits further consideration, the authority may, in its discretion, invite the eligible applicant to apply to the authority for a school facilities grant to meet in part the cost of a school project; but, a city, town, regional school district or independent agricultural and technical school shall not have an entitlement to funds under this chapter except at the discretion of the authority in accordance with this chapter. Application shall mean a series of documents, forms, letters, statements, certifications, plans, studies, drawings, and other data and information required by the authority to be submitted within the deadlines and in the format prescribed by the authority and shall be accompanied or supplemented by drawings, plans, estimates of cost and proposals for defraying the costs or any additional information the authority may require, before construction is undertaken. The authority shall promulgate regulations establishing the procedural steps by which applications must be made and reviewed, and may at any time during the application process determine that the application does not warrant further consideration, pursuant to the priority criteria established in said sections 6, 8, and 9, and by the authority’s regulations.
In the event that an eligible applicant undertakes construction before approval is obtained, the eligible applicant shall remain subject to the authority’s approval process as if the construction were not undertaken. An eligible applicant who is eligible for aid under this chapter and establishes extended courses of instruction in a vocational school, as provided in section 37A of chapter 74, and wishes to enlarge or construct a school for the purpose of maintaining extended courses of instruction on a technical institute level shall be eligible to apply for financial assistance in the construction or enlargement of such school in the manner and to the extent provided by this chapter. If the authority invites an eligible applicant to apply, but is unable to approve the application due solely to the limit on total facilities grants established by section 7, at the request of the eligible applicant, the application shall be retained by the authority for 1 year and reviewed in the year immediately following the year of the application; provided that in said review, the project shall be ranked and evaluated using the priorities established by section 8 and if the application is not approved by the authority during the review, the applicant shall be required to submit a new application; provided, further, that the authority shall require a new application from an applicant seeking to make a substantial change in scope of the project which is the subject of the application subsequent to disapproval by the authority.