Section 3. There is hereby established a school building assistance program. The purpose of said program is generally to encourage and foster the thoughtful establishment and maintenance of school facility space in and among the cities and towns of the commonwealth; to conduct surveys and studies relative thereto; and to administer the provisions of this chapter relative to grants and loans to cities and towns for the planning and construction of school building and school facility projects.
The purposes of the program shall be the provision of financial assistance to cities, towns and regional school districts as beneficiaries of the trust to finance and refinance the costs of approved school projects as provided in, and as necessary to implement this chapter, including without limitation providing for the payment of grants approved pursuant to this chapter and the payment of all costs of the authority, including professional and financial services incident to the conduct of its operations.
The authority shall establish general policy and review standards regarding school building construction, renovation, maintenance and facility space and administer the school building assistance program in accordance with this chapter. In carrying out its duties, the authority shall be guided by the following principles: preservation of open space and minimization of loss of such open space, emphasis on thoughtful community development, and project flexibility that addresses the needs of individual communities and municipalities. In accordance with the terms of any bond resolution, trust or security agreement or credit enhancement agreement, surety bond or insurance policy related to indebtedness incurred by the authority secured by amounts provided to the trust in accordance with section 35BB of chapter 10, the holders of indebtedness and the providers of any credit enhancement, surety bond or insurance policy shall also be beneficiaries of the trust. The authority shall apply and disburse moneys and revenues of the trust without further appropriation or allotment.
The authority, shall establish general policy and review standards regarding school building construction, renovation, maintenance and facility space, administer the school building assistance program in accordance with this chapter and coordinate the distribution of school facilities grants in accordance with this chapter. The board shall be responsible for the oversight and management of the school building assistance program as established herein and referred to hereafter as the “program”. In carrying out its duties, the authority shall be guided by the following principles: preservation of open space and minimization of loss of such open space; emphasis on thoughtful community development; and project flexibility that addresses the needs of individual communities and municipalities.
Specific powers of the authority shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(a) review, approve or deny grant applications, waivers and other requests submitted to the program; review, approve and recommend changes to grant payment schedules or suspend said schedules for program projects such as refinancings, audit findings and such other circumstances that may warrant such action;
(b) provide architectural or other technical advice and assistance, training and education, to cities and towns or to joint committees thereof and to general contractors, subcontractors, construction or project managers, designers and others in the planning, maintenance and establishment of school facility space;
(c) recommend to the general court such legislation as it may deem desirable or necessary to further the purposes of this chapter;
(d) develop a formal enrollment projection model or consider using projection models already available;
(e) to apply for, receive, administer and comply with the conditions and requirements respecting any grant, gift or appropriation of property, services or moneys;
(f) to enter into contracts, arrangements and agreements with other persons and execute and deliver all trust agreements, grant agreements and other instruments necessary or convenient to the exercise of the powers of the trust;
(g) to borrow and repay money by issuing bonds or notes of the trust, to apply the proceeds thereof as provided in this chapter and to pledge or assign or create security interests in any revenues, receipts or other assets or funds of the trust to secure bonds or notes;
(h) develop a project priority system;
(i) collect and maintain a clearinghouse of prototypical school plans which may be consulted by eligible applicants;
(j) determine eligibility of cost components of projects for reimbursement, including partial or full eligibility for project components for which the benefit is shared between the school and other municipal entities;
(k) establish appropriate rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter;
(l) prepare an annual budget for the administration of the program;
(m) collect and maintain data on all the public school facilities in the commonwealth, including information on size, usage, enrollment, available facility space and maintenance;
(n) perform or commission a needs survey to ascertain the capital construction, reconstruction, maintenance and other capital needs for schools in the commonwealth;
(o) develop a long term capital plan in accordance with needs and projected funding;
(p) adopt and amend bylaws and such rules, regulations and procedures for the conduct of the business of the trust as the board shall deem necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter;
(q) establish and maintain reserves;
(r) disburse amounts due to cities, towns and regional school districts under grants approved by the authority to finance or refinance costs of approved school projects and, in conjunction therewith, finance or refinance the local share of costs of these projects, through the purchase of bonds, notes or other evidences of local indebtedness, at the rates and on the terms that the authority may in its discretion determine, and provide for the payment of all costs of the authority, including professional and financial services incident to the conduct of its operations;
(s) invest the funds of the trust in such investments as may be legal investments for funds of the commonwealth or any fiduciary in the commonwealth;
(t) obtain insurance and enter into agreements of indemnification necessary or convenient to the exercise of the powers of the trust;
(u) sue and be sued and to prosecute and defend actions relating to the affairs of the trust; but the trust shall not be authorized to become a debtor under the United States Bankruptcy Code;
(v) engage accounting, management, legal, financial, consulting and other professional services necessary to the operations of the trust; and
(w) do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
The chairperson of the authority shall appoint an executive director, who shall supervise the administrative affairs and general management and operations of the authority and who shall also serve as secretary of the authority, ex officio. The executive director shall receive a salary commensurate with the duties of the office, and may be removed by the board for cause. The executive director may appoint other officers of the authority necessary to the functioning of the authority. The executive director shall designate no fewer than 1 employee to be a municipal liaison to assist cities and towns with concerns regarding the construction of schools. Sections 9A, 45, 46, and 46C of chapter 30, chapter 31 and chapter 150E shall not apply to the executive director or any other employees of the authority. The executive director shall, with the approval of the authority: (i) plan, direct, coordinate and execute administrative functions in conformity with the policies and directives of the authority; (ii) employ professional and clerical staff as necessary; (iii) report to the authority on all operations under his control and supervision; (iv) prepare an annual budget and manage the administrative expenses of the authority; and (v) undertake any other activities necessary to implement the powers and duties set forth in this chapter.