I-Team: How does the state determine who gets money for school repairs or replacement?

I-Team

Schools across Massachusetts are crumbling from old age, and there’s limited state funding for repairs or replacement. 

If a district wants to replace an aging school, or make repairs, they can apply for the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s CORE program, a grant program funded by one cent to every dollar made on the state sales tax. 

The application process is extremely competitive. One hundred-thirty schools applied last year, and the I-Team discovered, only one school from western Massachusetts got in.

The I-Team visited two schools in western Massachusetts that are in serious need of repairs, to get a closer look at the problems they’re facing.

Westfield Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Ronald Rix told the I-Team students with physical disabilities can’t go to Abner Gibbs Elementary School, because it’s not handicapped accessible. They also have small classrooms, one shared space for a cafeteria, gym, and auditorium, and a century old heating system.

“You can see one of the major issues is accessibility to the building,” said Rix. “It’s causing a lot of money for maintenance.”

East Longmeadow High School also has a number of issues that they’ve been trying to fix for years, but haven’t been able to get the necessary funding.

The I-Team investigated where all of the money from the state’s grant program is going, to see why our schools aren’t getting the necessary repairs. Find out what the I-Team uncovered in our report on AGING SCHOOLS, Tuesday, May 7 on 22News at 6pm.


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