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


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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