Section 6: Examination of application by board of education; notice of approval or rejection
Section 6. (a) Upon receipt of an application under section 5, from time to time, the authority may designate approved school projects. The authority shall examine forthwith the applications and any facts, estimates, or other information relative thereto, and shall make the following findings in order to designate a school project as an approved school project:
(1) The school project is in the best interests of the commonwealth and the eligible applicant, with respect to its site, type of construction, sufficiency of accommodations, open space preservation, urban development, urban sprawl, energy efficiency, and otherwise.
(2) The school project is necessary to meet educational standards of the curriculum frameworks established by the board of education pursuant to section 1E of chapter 69 for anticipated enrollment levels.
(3) The school project has a value over its useful life commensurate with the lifecycle cost of building, operating, and maintaining the project.
(4) The school project is not at a school that has been the site of an approved school project pursuant to this chapter or to chapter 645 of the acts of 1948 within the 10 years prior to the project application date, or the approved school project is unrelated to such previously approved project in the same school.
(5) The school project is within the capacity of the authority to finance within revenues projected to be available to the trust, established pursuant to section 35BB of chapter 10.
(6) The commissioner of education has certified that adequate provisions have been made in the school project for children with disabilities, as defined in section 1 of chapter 71B, and, in the case of elementary facilities, that adequate provisions consistent with local policy have been made for all-day kindergarten, pre-kindergarten classes and for extended day programs; provided, however, that no district shall be required to adopt the classes or programs.
The authority shall also consider the availability of funds projected in the trust and other financial obligations of the authority, the authority's long term capital plan, the results of needs surveys, the order of priorities under section 8 and construction procedures and standards under section 9 and otherwise as prescribed by law and regulation. With respect to a regional school district, the authority shall also consider whether the school project represents an economy of scale that benefits the commonwealth and the municipalities of the region.
(b) Within a reasonable time after receipt of the application the authority shall notify the applicant of its approval or rejection thereof, and, in the event of its rejection, of the reasons therefor. Notice of approval hereunder shall be accompanied by a statement of the estimated approved cost as determined by the authority, and an estimate of the amount of total facilities grant to which the eligible applicant may be entitled under section 10.
(c) If the authority designates a school project to be an approved school project, the authority shall compute the estimated approved cost of the project, which cost may be equal to the estimated cost furnished by the eligible applicant or a lesser amount, and compute the amount estimated of facilities grant to which the applicant would be entitled under section 10, such computation being based on said approved cost. The final approved cost shall be determined by the authority within a reasonable time after the acceptance of the completed project by the local school committee. Final audits shall be conducted promptly by the authority. Final payments shall be determined based on the final approved cost.
(d) Any city, town or regional school district which has received, in accordance with subsections (b) and (c), notice of approval and an estimate of the amount of a school facilities grant, may borrow from time to time to finance that portion of the cost of the approved school project not being paid by such grant, in such amount approved by the board of selectmen, mayor or city manager of the city or town, or the regional district school committee of the regional school district, and may issue bonds or notes therefor which shall bear on their face the words ?(name of city, town or regional school district) School Project Loan, chapter 70B. Each authorized issue shall constitute a separate loan, and the loans shall be paid in not more than 25 years from their dates or up to 30 years if consistent with the guidelines established in section 7 of chapter 44. Any city, town or regional school district which has received, in accordance with subsections (b) and (c), notice of approval and an estimate of the amount of a school facilities grant may issue and renew temporary notes. The authority shall issue regulations relative to issuance of temporary notes for school construction. Indebtedness incurred under this chapter shall be outside the statutory debt limit but shall, except as herein provided, be subject to chapter 44.
(e) A city, town or regional school district may borrow for a term of not more than 5 years for the cost of such feasibility studies as may be required to apply for a school facilities grant under this chapter.