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K-12 Educational Design Community

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SD 984–An Act ensuring best practice incentives are available for ALL school building projects

John Nunnari, Executive Director of AIA Massachusetts, will join the committee to discuss to SD 984-An Act ensuring best practice incentives are available for ALL school building projects. Massachusetts law encourages school districts to meet a number of best practice goals when designing new school buildings. But current law doesn’t allow many low-income communities to take advantage of these incentives.

General Law Chapter 70B establishes the mechanism for reimbursing communities for a portion of the cost of a school building project. The rate of reimbursement is determined by a formula that takes into consideration indexes of income, property tax rates and rates of poverty among communities. The law outlines specific practices and project delivery methods that are encouraged by offering added cost reimbursement points to the project. The incentivized practices and methods include:
• Regionalization of School Districts (up to 6 points)
• Participation in High Efficiency Green School Program (up to 2 points)
• Best Practices for Routine and Capital Maintenance (up to 2 points)
• Overlay Zoning (MGL 40R or 40S) (up to 2 points)
• Renovation/Re-use of Existing Facilities (up to 5 points)
• Establishment of a Maintenance Trust (up to 1 point with district match)

These incentives motivate those designing school projects to use these best practices, particularly preservation, sustainability and other green methods.

It is the position of Senator Comerford and Representative Cahill that all school construction projects in the Commonwealth should be equally empowered to take advantage of the Ch. 70B, sec. 10 “Incentive Points” in order to extend the use of best practices in renovation, sustainable design, maintenance and land use.
Problem: Under current law, there’s an overall cap on total reimbursements, so no community is eligible to receive greater than 80% project cost reimbursement from the MSBA, regardless of the maximum determined by the eligibility formula. If they reach the cap, the project can’t take advantage of the incentive points that it qualifies for. This discriminates against communities that already are at or near the 80% cap, and hurts their school projects which have no incentive to use these best practices.

Solution: The proposed legislation would allow these incentive points (including the bonus for high efficiency and for renovation/reuse) to be used even if the community reaches the 80% cap based on the low income in the locality.

This meeting may also be attended remotely by video-conference. To join remotely, go to, run Zoom Launcher, and use Meeting ID: 200 467 011.

1.5 LU/HSW AIA credits are available.